Quit Notice To Illegal Residents: Akeredolu Has Constitutional Rights To Do So says Gani Adams

41

are Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has thrown his weight behind the Ondo State governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), over the quit notice to illegal residents in the state’s forest reserves, saying the governor had the rights under the Nigerian constitution to issue such order as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) charged with the duty to protect the lives and property of residents in the state.

This was just as Iba Adams called on all Yoruba sons and daughters to support all the governors in the South-West in their fight against insurgency across the region.

Akeredolu had, on Monday, given a 7- day ultimatum to herders to vacate the forests in the state, following the growing insecurity allegedly perpetrated by the pastoralists.

But the presidency, in a swift reaction, through a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, maintained that asking the herders to vacate the reserved forests could set off a chain of events which the constitution anticipated and tried to guard against.

Garba said there was little to be said other than to call for restraint on both sides, urging the state government and the leadership of the Fulani communities to continue their dialogue for a good understanding that would bring to an urgent end, the nightmarish security challenges facing the state.

Iba Adams, while throwing his support for Governor Akeredolu over the ultimatum, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Kehinde Aderemi, said the presidency had failed to address the security situation across the country.

The Yoruba generalissimo described Shehu’s statement as a threat to the sanctity of the state, and a deliberate attempt to work against the state government’s interest, especially, on the issue of security.

This was just as he observed that though the reserved forests were some of the heritages of the Federal Government yet they were under the jurisdiction of the state government, positing that it was only meant to be accessible to authorized personnel.

“Garba Shehu/Presidency apparently doesn’t know the meaning of a reserved forest. It’s not accessible except to authorized personnel/loggers. Apart from the place being a place for valued cash trees, it’s also meant as a haven of safety for protected animals against poachers. The herdsmen living in the forest are not only unauthorised, they would likely cut down trees to make fires and must also kill animals for food.

“A reserved forest is not a place of residence for anyone, not even Ondo indigenes or farmers. It is most unfortunate that such a statement is coming directly from the presidency, who according to the constitution, has the prerogative to protect the lives and property of citizens in the country now looking for ways to foil the good plans and intentions of the state government to get rid of the bad elements that are masquerading as herders and pastoralists in the state,” he said.

Speaking further, Adams said the reserved forests were meant to be the heritage of the state, and not for herders or pastoralists, maintaining that Akeredolu as the governor and the Chief Security Officer of the state under the 1999 Constitution as amended had the right to protect the lives and property of the citizenry, and also resist any attempt to turn the reserved forests to herders’ abode or ranch.

“We are all a witness to the various security challenges in Ondo State. The governor’s convoy was attacked on two occasions. Two prominent Obas in the state have been kidnapped on different occasions. The security situation in the state is always nightmarish because it was in Ondo State that a first-class monarch was killed by bandits masquerading as Fulani herdsmen.

“It was also in Ondo State that a university lecturer was abducted. It was in Ondo State that the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti was murdered, even Chief Olu Falae’s farm was invaded on four occasions, leading to the death of one of our members, who was a security man.

“These sad events and several others largely showed that the state is in serious security challenges and it is in the interest of the state for Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to respond swiftly to the various security challenges.

“I am from Akoko North West in Ondo State, all our reserved forests have been taken over illegally by these illegal residents. So the governor’s decision is in the right direction and it is in the interest of the state.

“I am now using this opportunity to call on all Yoruba sons and daughters to support all the governors in the South-West in their fight against insurgency across the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had, in a statement, affirmed the state’s determination to end the security challenges in the state, adding that the quit notice order stands, stressing that no amount of threat can stop the state government from getting rid of the bad elements in Ondo State.