Abuja , Nigeria —The Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF, has directed the Fulani herdsmen to disregard the notice to quit forest reserves in the state, describing Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s order as provocative.
The NEF Director (Publicity and Advocacy), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
The statement reads, “It has, however, become necessary to speak at this stage and offer advice before mischief makers capitalize on the issue to compound our existing challenges around security and co-existence.
“Governor 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.
“His duty to protect and improve the security of citizens and all people in Ondo State cannot be challenged. Indeed, all governors need more support to improve their responses to security challenges which citizens face. Nonetheless, no Nigerian has the power to take punitive action against citizens on political grounds.
“The forum urges the Fulani community in Ondo to stay where they are and continue to be law-abiding. They should collaborate with all legitimate authorities to police their communities against criminal elements, but they should resist moves to be labelled entirely as criminals.
Also speaking in the same vein, another group, the Fulani Nationalist Movement, (FUNAM) warned that any attempt to forcefully remove the Fulani herdsmen from Ondo forests is an invitation to war.
In a statement signed by Baadu Salisu Ahmadu, West Africa Regional Coordinator for FUNAM, titled, ‘Remove Fulani from forests and face war’ said; “Our attention has been drawn to a decree credited to one Rotimi Akeredolu asking Fulani people who have occupied some forests in Ondo State to quit.
We are also aware of another incidence in Oyo State where an illeterate political thug gave quit notice to Fulani people to leave the territories which are now their irreversible homes.
This is not only an irresponsible demand but a call to arms of the faithful who have been pursuing their legitimate business in these forests.
We have given a counter order. No Fulani will move an inch either in Oyo,Ondo or any part of the Western part of Nigeria.
On behalf of Fulani Nationalist Movement, (FUNAM) we hereby warn the governments Oyo and it’s agent, one Sunday Igboho and the Ondo State Govt to rescind their orders or face serious consequences.
It is shocking that the said Igboho and Akeredolu who is a beneficiary of the system is giving a stupid order that he knows no one will respect. We didn’t get the forests through him and how does he expect Fulani to obey his empty order? If he had been shot during attack on him, will he be alive to give orders? Humans have a short memory
The Fulani people in these forests acquired these lands legitimately the Fulani also operates under the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons. The people giving the orders should know they do not have the capacity to enforce such orders.
First they are not the Nigerian Police neither are they the Nigerian Army. The National Assembly has not given such not even the Houses of Assembly in the two states acquisce to such irresponsible demand.
The Fulani will resist by all means necessary, including armed resistance any attempt to forcefully eject them from these Forests that in reality does not belong to these States alone. Some are Federal Reserve Forests.
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We want to ask Akeredolu whether those communities brought the lands from heaven.
We warn that any one Fulani blood that is shed further in the South West will automatically lead to upheaval in the six states of Lagos,Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun State. We the Fulani are on red alert and waiting for the call and will never succumb to any threat or intimidation by ethnic bigots.I Baadu Salisu Ahmadu, given my new responsibility, will with other faithful NEVER fail the Fulani Nation in it’s Allah chosen destiny.”
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