Bello Bodejo, the national president of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, says nobody can chase herdsmen away from the forest reserves in Ondo state.
On Monday, Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, ordered herders to vacate the forest reserves over rising insecurity in the state.
Akeredolu had said “bad elements” have turned the forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating ransom, and carrying out other criminal activities.
The governor’s directive sparked mixed reactions, with Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, saying Akeredolu cannot unilaterally oust thousands of herders “who have lived all their lives in the state”.
The Northern Elders Forum also asked the herders in the state to disregard Akeredolu’s order.
In an interview with The Sun Newspaper, Bodejo said the herders will not obey Akeredolu’s directive because he has no right to issue such orders, as the Fulanis have been in the area for over 250 years.
He said the herders do not need anybody’s permission to use a forest for grazing so far as it provides the nutrients needed by their cattle.
“The Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, doesn’t have any right to give such ultimatum to our people. People, including Fulani, voted for him to be the governor; so he should be the governor of everybody in the state,” he said.
“Fulani have been in the forests he is talking about even before he was born; they have been there for over 250 years. After staying there for a long time and their cow dung turns the place fertile, people would begin to come there to farm and to settle and from then, they begin to make claims that our cattle were destroying their farms.
“We are suing the governor and seeking an injunction restraining him and others from carrying out his threat. But even at that, nobody, no power can send the herdsmen out of Ondo state.
“No herdsman will obey the governor. The herdsmen will not step an inch out of Ondo forests; they are going nowhere. We won’t obey the governor; it is only the constitution of Nigeria that we obey.
“All the lands in this country belong to the Fulani, but we don’t have any business to do with the land if it doesn’t have areas for grazing. If the land doesn’t have cow food, we won’t have any business with it.
“What we consider are the areas that have cow food. If the place is good for grazing, we don’t need anybody’s permission to go there.
“Fulani can settle in any bush or forest they want the moment they have cows. Any person who thinks he owns any forest should be taken to a psychiatric hospital. Nobody owns any forest; forests are for Nigerians.”
Bodejo said the governor just needed an excuse to drive out the Fulanis from the state since the criminals are not from the ethnic group.
He alleged that Akeredolu’s “ulterior motive” could be for his 2023 political ambition.
“People are using propaganda to spoil Fulani’s name, and desperate politicians are in the forefront,” he said.
“The Ondo state governor has a secret agenda for asking our people to leave his state, not the reasons he stated. It is possible that Akeredolu is fighting a political battle. It may be the 2023 election, and that is why he is playing up this Fulani herdsmen issue.”
JUST IN: Yoruba Nation Protesters Storm Osogbo [VIDEO]
Scores of youths under the aegis of Omo Oduduwa United have stormed the streets of Osogbo capital of Osun State to agitate for the Yoruba nation.
The protesters converged on November 27 bridge in the Africa area, Osogbo for the protest.
They marched from the November 27 bridge through Ogo-Oluwa, Aregbe junction, Fakunle, Ola-Iya, and Odi Olowo areas.
The protesters carried placards, banners chanting secession songs, and distributing handbills to people along the streets.
They are heading to Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Old Garage.
The Nation had reported there was heavy security presence in major junctions of Osogbo as men of DSS, Police, JTF, Amotekun and other local operatives were on the ground.
Credit: The Nation
Restructure Your State Before Calling For Restructuring At Federal Level —- Lawan Knocks Southern Governors
Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, has cautioned Governors calling for the restructuring of the country.
Lawan, who spoke to State House correspondents on Thursday, said although he was not against those calling for restructuring, elected officials must not be among those advocating such.
According to him, state governors must ensure that they restructured their respective states first before calling for restructuring at the federal level.
He said: “The call for secession or the call for restructuring, many are genuine calls even though I never believe that someone who is calling for secession means well or is a misguided person.
“But I believe that when somebody calls for improving the structure that we have is a genuine call.
“But I want to advice here, I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level you have done it in your state as well.
“This is because what you may accuse the federal government of whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.”
“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state, and even local government work for the people and that we allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels that he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any hindrance.’’ NAN quoted him as saying.
Lawan also said Nigerians must come together regardless of their religious, ethnic, or political persuasions to find lasting solutions to the nation’s challenges.
He called on all elected leaders across the three tiers of government to always avoid primordial sentiments capable of creating division and social discontent among Nigerians.
“We should avoid partisanship, we should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solution must come from us regardless of what level of government we are – whether at the federal, state, or even at the local government level,’’ he added.
Lawan, who also frowned at the way the local government system was relegated to the background in the country, noted that for the nation to address its security challenges the local government system must be functional and efficient.
“I want to take this opportunity also to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute some of the security issues to the lack of a functional local government system.
“For me, I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge to ensure that the local government system functions. This is in keeping with looking for ways, for means, for solutions to the security challenges that we face. We must never neglect the local government system.
“I believe that this is one system that had worked even though in a different name. When it was Native Authority it was very effective, very efficient.
“So, we must go back to our local government to ensure that the local government continues to be autonomous, continues to be functional in order to complement whatever the States and the Federal Government would be doing.
Ohanaeze To Sanwo-Olu: Ignore Threat Of Attack On Lagos, Igbo Aren’t Violent People
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has asked Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.
On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.
The groups have, however, denied the allegations.
Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.
Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.
“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we are known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.
“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.
“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.
“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the southwest was a source of relief.
“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”
Responding, Sanwo-Olu said his administration will continue to secure the lives and property of residents in the state.