Nigeria Union Leader Calls For Caution Over FG/ONDO Face-Off

By Niyi Maraiyesa

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The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) chairman Wale Akinremi said over the weekend that the Federal Government should see the efforts of the Ondo State government to fight insecurity in the state as necessary and complimentary.
SSANU Chairman in a exclusive interview with the Media Bypass in reaction to the Faceoff between the Federal Government and the Ondo State Government over the stand of the Ondo State Government for the Herders in the forest reserves of the state to leave the place within 7 days and given orders in related matter said both the Federal and State Government re working to ensure that the country is secured.
“I think the Federal Government should see the efforts of Ondo State as necessary, expedient and complementary of whatever efforts the Federal Government is applying to fight insecurity in the country.”

Akinremi advise the federal government who he said were in better position to work with the state government in finding lasting solutions to the challenges.
“Instead of antagonistic disposition and itchy tent pitching, Federal Government should work with the Ondo State Government to have a dialogue with the legitimate herders not only because they are Nigerians and must be protected anywhere they live in Nigeria but also because of the fact that they are in the vantage position to assist the security operatives and the government in finding a lasting solution to the security challenges occasioned by criminal elements masquerading as Fulani herders.”

The Comrade observed that the Ondo State government had a good intention but should not be misinterpreted by the Federal Government.
“I think there is a clear cut misinterpretation of information and misinterpretation of facts from the side of the Federal Government in their reactions to the ultimatum issued by Ondo State Government to the herders.

It is crystal clear in the ultimatum as issued by Ondo State that they are not targeting a particular ethnic group but only making efforts to reduce the opportunities afforded the criminals that are using the forest as hideout. “
He stated further that the Ondo State government has the responsibility to ensure safety of Nigerians in respect of their origin and where ever they choose to reside. The government of Ondo State owes all Nigerians living in the state, irrespective of ethnic, political or religious attachments, the protection of their lives and properties.
“Every Nigerian reserves the right to be a resident of any state of his choice in the country. No Governor or President is empowered by any known law in the land to deny a Nigerian the right to live legitimately, with all rights as guaranteed by the Constitution in any part of the country. “
But the SSANU Chairman, University of Ibadan, cation that if necessary to flux out suspected criminals among the people that are posing treat to lives and property it necessary to make a move that we guarantee safety of the majority.
“However, in the process of the need to provide security for the people, drastic measures are required in some instances.
Forest reserves are meant to be ‘reserved’ and not to be defiled or turned to bloody den for criminals. Grazing in the night is causing a great deal of unrest in many parts of the country. There are laws in some states against open grazing. Laws are laws and respecter of no one.
Legitimate herders who have lived all their lives in Ondo State are also exposed to the activities of criminals hibernating in the Forest Reserves. In many instances, the peaceful herders are also victims. “

I t was reported that The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has asked all Fulani herdsmen in Ondo State to vacate forest reserves within the state. He also issued a seven-day ultimatum to the herdsmen.
The governor gave the ultimatum on Monday while meeting with leaders of Hausa/Fulani and Ebira Communities in the state and gave orders forthwith

1. All Forest Reserves in the State are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January, 2021.
2. Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night.3. Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited.
4. Under-aged grazing of cattle is outlawed.
“Our resolution to guarantee the safety of lives and property within the State shall remain utmost as security agencies have been directed to enforce the ban. “In its usual magnanimity, our administration will give a grace period of seven days for those who wish to carry on with their cattle-rearing business to register with appropriate authorities.”

In reaction, the Federal Government through the President Spokesman, Garuba Sheun in a statement said the Ondo State Government has no constitutional right to expel the Fulanis from the forest reserves. While the Northern Elders Forum also directed the Fulanis in the forest reserves to disregard the state government order.

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