Presidency, Ondo governor herders eviction row grows ●

Rotimi Akeredolu

Frank Ikpefan, Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja; Osagie Otabor, Akure; Adebisi Onanuga, Robert Egbe and Alao Abiodun, Lagos


THE Presidency’s response to the order by the Ondo State Government to herders to vacate its reservation forests sparked an outrage on Wednesday.

Lawyers backed Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, saying he’s empowered by the structure to safe his state as the chief legislation officer.

They famous that the governor did not order the herdsmen to go away the state however to vacate its Forest Reserves and get registered for safety functions.

Some Yoruba elders and the Afenifere faulted Tuesday’s assertion by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu cautioning the governor.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) described the directive as stunning, saying it was focused at the Fulani group.

Akeredolu on Monday stated herders wishing to hold on with cattle-rearing enterprise in the state should register with the applicable authorities inside one week.

He warned felony components utilizing the forest to perpetrate evil to henceforth count on hearth for hearth.

He spoke after an interactive parley with the management of the Hausa/Fulani and Ebira communities in the state.

What the Presidency stated

The Presidency in an announcement by Shehu, partly stated: “”In our view, he will be the least anticipated to unilaterally oust hundreds of herders who’ve lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.

”We wish to make it clear that kidnapping, banditry and rustling are crimes, regardless of the motive or who’s concerned.”

Lawyers: Akeredolu proper

Three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Seyi Sowemimo, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and Kunle Adegoke, in addition to authorized specialists Jiti Ogunye and Ige Asemudara, have been of the view that the governor’s place is backed by legislation.

Rights crusader Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) stated the Presidency was proper to warning Akeredolu.

He stated: “The Presidency has each proper to name the governor of Ondo State to order seeing that he’s about to infringe on the basic rights of Nigerian residents.

“It is unconstitutional for the Governor of a state to ask herdsmen to go away any state in the nation.

“The right to freedom of movement is meant to be enjoyed by all citizens.”

On the proper to personal land, the SAN stated: “It is debatable that the herdsmen, who’ve been issued a stop discover by Governor Akeredolu’s request, are literally being despatched away from a land to which they’ve legally acquired title and possession over.

“Where it is proven that the herdsmen have lived on the land for a significant time, then they are deemed to have a bonafide title to the land under the law.”

Sowemimo believes it was not the Federal Government’s prerogative to find out how Ondo’s forest reserve is utilised.

He stated the state authorities reserved the proper to make an order on its land.

According to him, the use of land in a selected state ought to be inside the purview of the governor.

Sowemimo stated: “There is a right of movement, but it is not absolute. If there are security considerations which may make that right not to be feasible to exercise, then I think that it is quite legitimate for the governor to make an appropriate order.”

Adegboruwa stated Akeredolu can’t be legally faulted.

To him, the Presidency could have misinterpreted the structure.

He hailed Akeredolu’s braveness and statesmanship and urged different governors to take authorized steps to safe their states.

For Adegoke, Akeredolu was “perfectly right” and acted lawfully to guard life and property in the gentle of the hazard posed by criminals inhabiting the forest reserves.

He defined that the proper of anybody, together with herders, to maneuver anyplace they please is not unqualified.

Adegoke stated: “Nobody has the proper to enter right into a forest reserve, graze there when it is not allowed, or to construct there with out approval.

“There are {qualifications} to the basic rights preserved in the structure. Nobody can bounce on any land and say ‘because I am a Nigerian, I have the right to stay anywhere I like.’

“If you’re a Nigerian and you want to keep anyplace you want, you need to buy land there.

“No Yoruba man can go to Kano and declare that as a result of he’s a Nigerian, he can conquer any land and say as a result of he’s doing a commerce. No Igbo man can try this as nicely.

“So, if we all know that this is not one thing anyone will enable, then it would be sheer dishonesty for the Federal Government to insist that the governor should tread with warning.

“The governor is perfectly right in telling them to vacate the forest reserves. The notice required to get a trespasser off your land is not more than seven days.”

Ogunye believes the rights to freedom of motion and the residents to reside in any half of the nation do not vest in anybody the proper to trespass on non-public, communal or publicly-acquired and managed land or forest.

According to him, each land is owned by people, communities, villages, cities, sub-ethnic teams or the authorities.

He famous that the land acquired and managed by the authorities, beneath the previous Public Lands Acquisition Act or the extant Land Use Act have been taken from aboriginal and indigenous communities, with compensation paid most instances.

“This implies that authorities itself recognises that there are not any ‘free, unowned, unpossessed lands’ inside the boundaries of Ondo State.

“There are no free forest zones anywhere. For the forest reserves that are owned by the state government, people (including indigenes) may not lawfully hunt for games or carry on logging activities therein without a permit. It is criminal to do so,” Ogunye stated.

Asemudara believes the ultimatum is justifiable and lawful.

He stated: “The first essence of authorities is the security and safety of lives and property. Akeredolu has an obligation and the energy to evict folks from or restrain anybody from coming into the Forest Reserves of the state particularly when their actions therein are illicit or felony.

“Furthermore, the proper of use and occupation of any land inside the state is beneath the powers and management of the Governor as a trustee as conferred by the Land Use Act.

“As a matter of law, the constitution preserves and strengthens that power. So, when Garba and his cohorts bandied constitutionalism around like a veil for their religious and tribal prejudices, it is in vain that they did so.”

Ondo’s stand unchanged

ONDO authorities insisted yesterday that no person would be allowed to legally function in the forest reserves with out approval.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Adefarati Gboyega, stated over 50,000 farmers engaged in numerous types of agricultural actions in the forest reserves have been registered.

He stated actions of the farmers are regulated to scale back criminality.

According to him, over 70 per cent of the authorities reserves have been encroached on by farmers as of 2017, with many culprits prosecuted and jailed or fined.

He stated farmers have been made to register to farm at the reserves with stiff adherence to all laws that defend animals and bushes.

“If you want a bit of land to farm, you need to apply to the Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture.

“The authorities, after contemplating your software, shall grant the thought of hectares of land by which you’re regulated to do your authorized and official farming.

“In retrospect, we now have registered over 50,000 hundreds farmers who interact in numerous types of agricultural actions in Ondo State Government Forest Reserves.

“With this, we regulate their actions and cut back criminality as we interface each day with farmers.

“Love it or depart it; farming is farming, be it crop manufacturing or animal husbandry. If any Nigerian irrespective of his/her state of origin wishes land for farming in Government Forest Reserves, he/she should apply to Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture and pay the regular charge for the required hectares of land.

“It is against the law for herdsmen to encroach on Ondo State Government Forest Reserves with out permission and graze on the farms, many of which will be destroyed.

“Let me say it again and again that no activity (hunting, planting crops and animal rearing) can be done in Ondo State Forest Conservation without permission. The laws guiding Ondo State Forest are clear and concise on it,” the commissioner stated.

Ondo Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, whereas talking on Channels , questioned whether or not President Buhari authorised the assertion.

He expressed doubt that Shehu certainly issued the stated assertion “because it would have been a dangerous one for the unity of this country.”

“If true,” Ojogo stated, “it would imply sure officers in the Presidency are literally out to create an issue for President Buhari. We should respect the effort of this President in his battle towards insecurity throughout the nation.

“If indeed he (Shehu) issued the statement, then he owes this nation a great deal of explanation to let people know why he must take up the fight of people masquerading as herdsmen to commit a crime.”


Yoruba elders, Afenifere knock Presidency

SOME Yoruba elders backed Akeredolu and blasted the Presidency for issuing the assertion.

The elders, beneath the aegis of Coalition of Oduduwa Elders, warned the Presidency to steer clear of governance points in Ondo or every other state.

They stated the governor’s motion was to guard lives and property of all Ondo residents, together with the herdsmen.

Its National Coordinator, Dr Tunde Aremu, and National Secretary, Mrs Folake Ajasin, urged the governor not to be distracted by these they stated have didn’t safeguard the lives of Nigerians.

“We have painstakingly watched the rushed assertion by the Presidency by one of its spokesmen, Mallam Garba Shehu, cautioning the governor towards his motion and as a substitute, declaring that the individuals who have been recognized to be answerable for kidnappings, banditry and killings in the state can’t vacate the areas they use to hold out their nefarious actions.

“This is unusual to us on condition that the Constitution vests sure powers on state governors as chief safety officers of their respective states on sure steps they’ll take to safeguard the lives of residents and their property.

“Akeredolu, to the finest of our data is a sitting governor of Ondo State.

“Until he’s out of workplace, he has the constitutional mandate to machine the finest methods doable in giving his individuals who voted him into workplace good and high quality management.

“The quit notice to herders to leave Ondo forests is one of those steps he has taken to protect the citizenry. So, we ask the Presidency to leave him alone.”

Afenifere, the Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, by its

National Publicity Secretary Yinka Odumakin, faulted the Presidency’s response.

It stated: “Are Ondo forest reserves beneath Ondo State Government or the Federal Government?

 Farmers again Akeredolu

The Ondo State Agricultural Commodities’ Association (OSACA) urged Akeredolu not to be intimidated.

Its Chairman Gbenga Obaweya and Secretary Ayo Omogie stated in an announcement stated the governor’s order had introduced hope to farmers. The group stated: “The grazing invoice earlier than the House of Assembly ought to be given an accelerated passage.

“The social and financial affect of these nefarious actions of the herdsmen, if not rapidly checked, will result in extreme famine in due season, as farmers are leaving their farmland in droves for concern of being attacked, raped or kidnapped as these have grow to be a recurring concern.

“The governor’s order is crucial for it will save farmers from turning into paupers and bancrupt as these herdsmen graze freely on their crops on each day foundation.

“Most of these farmers took loans from completely different monetary establishments to determine their farm.

“It is on record that farmers in Ondo State have lost over 2000 hectares of rice and over 3000 hectares of cassava just to mention a few to herdsmen activities across the state.”

Fani-Kayode assaults Presidency

Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani- Kayode, faulted the Presidency

In a sequence of tweets, he stated: “Quit notices can’t be given to law-abiding residents in any half of Nigeria however should be given to people who kill, steal and search to destroy the lives of others.

“Murderous terrorists and bloodthirsty and evil males that cover in the forest to ambush, kidnap, kill and destroy harmless and hardworking males and ladies don’t have any constitutional rights.

“Akeredolu has completed and stated the proper factor and I urge each single Southwest governor to do the identical. Bandits, killers and unhinged, blood-lusting and bloodthirsty psychopaths and sociopaths are not welcome.

Shehu Sani faults directive

A Former Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani, faulted the governor’s motion and urged him to rethink the resolution.

The former senator, in a post on his official Facebook web page, stated it was flawed to ask all cattle herders to go away the state whereas they’ve the proper to reside anyplace.

He added that the authorities should make effort to punish those that breach the legislation and respect the rights of the harmless.

Shehu wrote: “My Dear Governor Akeredolu, I’m fairly conscious of the safety challenges dealing with your state.

“I respect your efforts, however it’s utterly flawed to ask all cattle herders to go away Ondo forests.

“The sins of a felony few ought to not have an effect on the law-abiding and peaceable ones who’ve the proper to reside and transfer freely in all components of our nation.

“Efforts must continue to be made to deal with those who breach the law, while and respecting and protecting the rights of the innocent.”

Northern Elders ‘shocked’

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) additionally criticized the governor.

In an announcement issued by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the group stated: “Northern Elders Forum is shocked.

“The Forum had resisted the urge to remark since the reported stop order as a result of that is a particularly delicate concern.

Is it right for Federal Government to dialogue and compensate killer herdsmen and bandits?

“It has, however, become necessary to speak at this stage and offer advice before mischief-makers capitalise on the issue to compound our existing challenges around security and co-existence.”




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