The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has asked herders of Fulani extraction in Ondo State to remain in the state and reject any move to label them as criminals.
Spokesman of the forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement on Wednesday, asked the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to stop the ultimatum given to herders to vacate forest reserves in the State.
Baba-Ahmed noted that the governor’s order was provocative and unhelpful.
It would be recalled that the governor had on Monday gave herders a seven-day ultimatum to leave the forests, citing the rising insecurity in the State.
The Northern Elders Forum explained that the Fulani would not accept unfair treatment, asking the Governor to separate criminals and treat them as such.
According to the forum, “Northern Elders Forum is shocked at reports that Governor 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.”
The statement noted that Akeredolu is a senior lawyer who should know that the constitution does not give him the power to deny any Nigerian the right to live where he chooses if he does not break the law in the process.
It added, “His duty to protect and improve the security of citizens and all people in Ondo State cannot be challenged.”
The elders’ forum explained that no Nigerian had the power to take punitive action against citizens on political grounds, stressing that the forum believes that the action of the governor is provocative and unhelpful.
The NEF said no Fulani anywhere in Nigeria will accept unfair and illegal treatment just for being Fulani and therefore urged the Fulani community in Ondo state to stay put where they are and continue to be law-abiding.