The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has frowned at the Presidency’s position on Ondo State government’s order for herders to vacate the state’s forest reserves.
In a statement on Thursday, SMBLF described the Presidency’s position on the quit notice order by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, as a “complete overreach and clear abuse of the constitution in a bid to elevate Fulani herders above the law.”
Akeredolu, in response to the rising insecurity in the state, had ordered herdsmen in Ondo forest reserves to vacate.
But the Presidency, in a statement by Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, kicked against the order.
In its statement signed by Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikoku (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), SMBLF called on the Federal Government to withdraw its unjust order against Ondo government enforcing the vacation order.
“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’s statement by Garba Shehu that the Governor of Ondo lacks the powers to decide on its reserves in spite of the Land Use Act that vests land 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 Ortom to go and live peaceably with killers after Miyetti Allah killed 78 citizens of the state 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. The SMBLF therefore asks the Federal Government to withdraw the unjust diktat and allow Ondo to enforce the law,” SMBLF statement read.
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