There is anxiety among some indigenes of Ondo State as the one-week eviction order issued by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu that herdsmen leave the state’s forest reserves expired on Sunday.
Earlier reports showed that Akeredolu had on January 18, 2021 ordered herdsmen to leave the state’s forest reserves within seven days following incidents of kidnappings and sundry crimes attributed to Fulani herders.
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But the Northern Elders’ Forum, amongst others, had directed the Fulani herdsmen to disregard the notice to quit forest reserves in the state.
The Presidency, in a statement by the President’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, also faulted the governor, saying he should not act outside his constitutional powers.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria subsequently lauded the Presidency, saying Fulani herdsmen are peaceful people.
Speaking to one of our correspondents in Akure, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matter, Jimoh Dojumo, said the enforcement would not be like a war, but it would strategically carried out.
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Dojumo said, “We have made some preparations ahead the enforcement tomorrow ( Monday), but we don’t want it to be like we are fighting a war. What I will say is that we are strategizing and we would not like to disclose our strategy for security reason.”
But there have been apprehension among the indigenes of the state as some already expressed fear that the enforcement might lead to crisis between the government officials and the Fulani herdsmen. There are also fears that the Oyo State scenario could play out.
A community leader in the state, Ibrahim Kilani, urged the government to handle the matter carefully in order not to cause tribal crisis in the state and by extension, in the country.
“There is a need for the government to exercise caution in this matter,” he said.
Also a resident of Ondo, Kemi Badmus, said, “We are worried, the government should ensure that the herdsmen are chased away and they should not come back to the place because Fulani herdsmen are stubborn.”
Another resident, Biodun Akinwale, opined that after the enforcement of the eviction order today, the Amotekun Corps should remain in the forest reserves.
“The Fulani herdsmen should leave our state, they are dangerous, the Amotekun should always patrol the forest reserves,” Akinwale stated.
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A social commentator, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, also wrote on Facebook, “Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, how will the enforcement exercise be on Monday? A man of valour must fear nothing. The people of Oodua are with you.”
“He’s a man of his words, he won’t succumb to any pressure from any quarter. They must leave,” said another Facebook user, Ojo Joseph.
“The God of justice shall be with Governor Akeredolu and the spirit of Oodua will aid us to preserve our land,” said Olukayode Majekodunmi.
Meanwhile, South-West governors and the leadership of Miyetti Allah are expected to meet today.