The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has overridden the seven-day ultimatum issued by Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, to Fulani herdsmen occupying the state’s forest reserves.
The decision was announced by Kayode Fayemi, Chairman of the NGF, at a meeting between the governors and the national leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) at the International Culture and Events Centre in Akure, Ondo State capital, on Monday.
According to Fayemi, who is the Governor of Ekiti State, Governor Akeredolu only directed that all herdsmen should register for them to operate in the state forest reserves.
Governor Fayemi stated that the directive of his Ondo State counterpart was misconstrued by the media, adding that ethnic profiling has to stop as all tribes in Nigeria are facedwith the insecurity challenge.
He noted that the Fulanis too are victims of crime such as cattle rustling.
“Many members of MACBAN were born in the South-West. So, Akeredolu cannot ask Fulani to vacate Ondo State. The area concerned is the forest reserves and it is about registration and also to work in line with the law. What we are after is the criminals, not Fulani herdsmen, criminals are criminals irrespective of their ethnic group,” Fayemi said.
Present at the meeting were governors of Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Kebbi, and Jigawa states.
Governor Akeredolu had last Monday ordered all herdsmen to vacate the state’s forest reserves over rising insecurity in the state.
According to the governor, “bad elements” have turned the forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.