Presidency Stops Akeredolu From Banning Herdsmen In Ondo

Following the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu directive that herdsmen should vacate forest reserves in the state within 7 days, Garba Shehu who is the senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity had countered this and said the herdsmen had the right to live anywhere. This was made known in a statement issued by Shehu yesterday.

According to the statement, “Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, a seasoned lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and indeed, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has fought crime in his state with passion and commitment, greater sensitivity and compassion for the four years he has run its affairs and, in our view, will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals,”.

Reading further, the statement said, “If this were to be the case, rights groups will be right in expressing worries that the action could set off a chain of events which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against”.

The statement further stressed that “We want to make it clear that kidnapping, banditry and rustling are crimes, no matter the motive or who is involved. But, to define crime from the nameplates, as a number of commentators have erroneously done- which group they belong to, the language they speak, their geographical location or their faith is atavistic and cruel.”

The spokesperson made it known that everyone had the right to live in any part of the country and that it was unlawful to banish anyone from living in any part of the country.

He also made reference to the “Muslim Solidarity Forum” who planned to banish Bishop kukah, but was countered as it is not part of the Nigerian Constitution.


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Esther Ifeoluwa

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