Fulani quit notice: Yoruba elders blast presidency, back Akeredolu

By OKWE OBI, Abuja
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The Coalition of Oduduwa Elders (CODUE) has supported the quit notice handed down by Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to unregistered Fulani herders to vacate the state's forest reserve in order the curb rising cases of insecurity.

The group took exception to a statement released by the Presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, for opposing the quit notice, warning that it should stop meddling into issues within state's purview.

CODUE National Coordinator Dr Tunde Aremu and National Secretary Folake Ajasin said in a statement that Governor Akeredolu was in a better position to know how to protect lives and property in the state.

Aremu warned the Presidency and the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) against weeping up sentiments but to respect the order of the governor for the sake of peace and tranquillity.

'We, the Yoruba elders under this noble umbrella body known as Coalition of Oduduwa Elders, have watched with great concerns the turn of events in the South West, especially in Ondo culminating in the notice to herders to quit forests by Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN,' the statement read.

'We have equally painstakingly watched the rushed statement by the Presidency through one of its spokesmen, Mallam Garba Shehu, cautioning the governor against his action and instead, declaring that the people who have been identified to be responsible for kidnappings, banditry and killings in the state cannot vacate the areas they use to carry out their nefarious activities.

'This is strange to us given that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vested certain powers on state governors as chief security officers of their respective states on certain steps they can take to safeguard the lives of citizens and their property.

'Akeredolu, to the best of our knowledge is a sitting governor of Ondo State. Until he is out of office, he has the constitutional mandate to device the best ways possible in giving his people who voted him into office good and quality leadership.

'The quit notice to herders to leave Ondo forests is one of those steps he has taken to protect the citizenry. So, we ask the Presidency to leave him alone.

'The marauders, who usually come without cattle, engage in kidnappings, attacking communities in the guerrilla style of warfare, killings, burn houses and destroying other property! Should the governor fold his hands and look the other way while his people are being massively kidnapped, killed and their property destroyed? No, these have to stop now. And the only way to stop it is what Chief Akeredolu has done.

'We observed that the Presidency's statement came only shortly after the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) publicly called on it to come out with urgent reaction regarding the governor's action.

'We are surprised that the Presidency which has not reacted to the cries of the people of Ondo or South West, leaving the region to form Ametokun security outfit to protect its people, would be so concerned to issue a rushed statement over the governor's action!

'We had expected Miyeti Allah and all the Fulani bodies to rise against the criminal elements in their midst who are bent on tarnishing their reputation, but instead, they have surprisingly looked the other way until the governor came up with this measure to stop the ugly situation.

'If they were not complicit in the acts, why were they not speaking out against these despicable acts of their kinsmen?

'We call on Garba Shehu to stop disgracing President Buhari's government. We also call on the Presidency to always vet Garba Shehu's statements before giving consent for release to the public.' (Daily Sun)

By OKWE OBI, Abuja