Following the expiration of Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s order asking herdsmen to leave the state’s forest reserves within seven days, governors from the South-west will meet with national and zonal leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria on Monday.
A source told Daily Trust on Sunday that the meeting, billed to hold in Akure would also be attended by the governors of Jigawa and Kebbi States as well as all Commissioners of Police in the south-western states.
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He said the meeting was convened to discuss the ultimatum and address the security challenges in the southwest.
The chairman of the Mayetti Allah in Ondo State, Alhaji Bello Garuba, said MACBAN leaders had arrived Akure for the meeting.
- Let’s avoid war – Arewa youths
Meanwhile, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum on Sunday demanded reversal of the last Monday’s order by the Ondo State governor.
AYCF President Shettima Yerima, in a statement, said: “We must guide against any act that will create a war-like situation in Nigeria, we must learn from mistakes of the past and avoid a repeat because its consequences may be unimaginable,” he said.
He noted that the constitution of Nigeria guarantees every Nigerian to live in any part of this country and free to engage in any legitimate business of his or her choice.
He urged the government of Ondo and Oyo States to give peace a chance and rescind the quit notice order; while those whose property was destroyed should be compensated accordingly.
“The governor of Ondo State, being a learned person, is expected to know better. AYCF will not support any group that engages in any form of criminality and such people should not be identified by their religion, tribe or ethnicity but should be treated as a criminal.
“The subsequent attack that followed the quit notice in Oyo State is rather uncalled for and condemnable’. The perpetrators must be brought to book and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“AYCF supports constitutional ways of every state protecting her citizens but quit notice should be out of it and must not be considered under any circumstance. Nigeria is an indivisible entity and whatever has the tendency like happenings in Ondo and Oyo must be discouraged in the interest of peaceful coexistence and one Nigeria.”
- We’ll enforce Akeredolu’s order–OPC
The Oodua People’s Congress on Sunday also warned the Presidency and the Arewa Consultative Forum against playing politics and ethnicity with what it called “the worrisome state of security in the southwest.”
It also offered to assist Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in enforcing the deadline issued to herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in Ondo State.
It said the Presidency’s opposition to Akeredolu’s order was divisive, provocative and ill-advised as well as an insult to the country’s federalism and the separation of powers principle of the constitution.
Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, Deputy President to the late OPC founder, Frederick Fasehun, stated this after an emergency meeting of OPC leaders held in Lagos.
He said no southerner would dare go to the north and carry out killing, kidnapping and banditry that Fulani criminals have allegedly unleashed on southern communities and highways.
Afolabi, however, assured that “millions of law-abiding Fulani men and women” living in the Yorubaland “have absolutely no cause for alarm. Fulani criminals hiding under the cloak of being herdsmen to perpetrate evil against law-abiding citizens should know their time is up. Henceforth, it’ll be fire for fire.”
Afolabi expressed his group’s backing for the pronouncement issued by Akeredolu that herdsmen should leave forests for open areas by Monday.
The OPC also described the manhunt launched by the police for the Yoruba activist, Sunday Igboho, as misguided and provocative.
- Mind your utterances – Gani Adams warns
Also on Sunday, the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, cautioned the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria to be mindful of utterances that could fuel more crisis in the country.
He said the threat of reprisals following Friday’s attack on a Fulani settlement by Sunday Igboho was a joke taken too far.
In a statement by his spokesman, Kehinde Aderemi, Adams warned threats of attack on the southwest could fuel further crisis in Ibarapa, Oyo and Ondo and would certainly affect the entire nation.
He said: “There are reports that the Fulani herdsmen have, in the past five years, killed over 300 Yoruba people from different communities while several other people have been kidnapped with abductors paying several billions as ransom”.
Meanwhile, the Ondo State Government on Sunday asked the media to exercise restraint and allow security agents to “manage security”.
In a chat with our correspondent, Jimoh Dojumo, the Senior Special Adviser (Security Matters) to the Ondo State Governor, said the state government would wait for the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum given to herdsmen illegally occupying forest reserves before it “will know the next step”.
Reporting by Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Bola Ojuola (Akure) & Raphael Ogbonnaiye (Ado-Ekiti)