The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has dared Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on the quit notice he gave to Fulanis herdsmen to leave the forest.
The elders asked the Fulanis herdsmen not to obey the Governor’s directive, asking them to keep on doing their herding businesses in the forest.
Spokesman of NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement on Wednesday, asked the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to withdraw the ‘illegal’ order.
Acccording to Baba-Ahmed, the governor’s order was provocative and unhelpful.
It will be recalled that on Monday, Akeredolu gave herders a seven-day ultimatum to leave the forests, considering the rising insecurity in the State.
The Governor observed that the forests have become haven for kidnappers and other criminal acts.
The Northern Elders Forum said that they would never allow anyone or group to label Fulanis as criminals.
According to the forum, “Northern Elders Forum is shocked at reports that Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, is asking a Fulani community to leave its lawful location, in addition to other restrictions on activities of Fulani people who have lived in the State for a long period.”
It added, “His duty to protect and improve the security of citizens and all people in Ondo State cannot be challenged.”
“If there are criminal elements among the Fulani who live in the State, the governor should take appropriate steps to identify them and deal with them. Similarly, the Fulani do not enjoy legal immunity in any part of Nigeria.”
The forum however, noted that the Fulani were subject to all laws and rules and must respect the communities with which they live