The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has warned the Federal Government on the “dangerous game it is playing over its overt support for Miyetti Allah to violate the lawful order of Ondo State Government banning grazing in its forest reserves”.
The position of the Forum was contained in a statement by Yinka Odumakin for the South West; Chief Guy Ikokwu, South East; Senator Bassey Henshaw for the South South; and Dr. Isuwa Dogo, Middle Belt.
The Forum said the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, that the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, lacked the powers to order unregistered herdsmen out of the state’s forest reserve was a dangerous one.
According to the statement: “We are supposed to be a Federal Republic and Forest Reserves in states are fully residual matter to which the Federal Government has no business with.
“The FG statement by Garba Shehu that the Governor of Ondo lacks the full powers to decide on its reserves in spite of the Land Use Act that vests lands in states in the Governors was a complete overreach and clear abuse of the constitution in a bid to elevate Fulani herders above the law.
“It is a continuation of the obsessive attachment to Miyetti Allah like the President instructing Governor (Samuel) Ortom to go and live peaceably with Killers after Miyetti Allah killed 78 citizens of the stare in January 2019, to prevent Ondo from holding its rights on its reserves in the face of persistent killings of its people by herders occupying the reserves illegally.
“No decent or responsible governor would allow what the FG wants for Fulani herdsmen.
SMBLF therefore asks the FG to withdraw the unjust diktat and allow Ondo to enforce the law.
“We equally call on all Governors in all non-Fulani communities who are being forced to live under Fulani terror to take proactive measures to secure their people lawfully.
“Should there be any breakdown of law and order in any part of the country over this encouragement of Miyetti Allah against law and order, President Buhari will be held squarely responsible.”