Leader of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Association, Abdullahi Bello Badejo, has dared Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
He said an order the governor gave, that herdsmen should leave Reserve Forests in the state, was null and void.
He said the forests belonged to the Fulani because they had been there for 250 years.
In an interview with ‘The Sun”, he said:
“We are making consultations with our legal team. But before then, the governor and his people should stop embarrassing our people in the forests and all their businesses.
“No any herdsman will obey the governor; the herdsmen will not step an inch out of Ondo forests; they are going nowhere. We won’t obey the governor; it is only the constitution of Nigeria that we obey. We have been in that area before he was born, how can he just grow up and ask us to leave; no Fulani will leave that place. What are his reasons for the quit notice?
“He alleged that it is the herdsmen that are kidnapping and robbing people and they operate from the forests
We are not in support of any form of criminality- armed robbery, kidnapping, gun running etc. These crimes are the reasons we have the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Army, DSS, even Civil Defence to nab perpetrators and there are courts everywhere to try them and if found guilty, appropriate punishment meted out to them. The governor is the chief security officer of the state, there is no reason he should single out one ethnic group for the crimes committed in the state. He is supposed to accommodate more Fulani in the state and not to drive them out. Driving them out is not the solution.
“I have just concluded a meeting with my fellow Fulani and we have found out that some people will adorn Fulani attire to carry out various crimes. How can Fulani man living in the forest kidnap and ask people to pay ransom ranging from N5 million to N10 million. What would he be doing with that kind of money inside forest; if you pay herdsmen N20 million, N10 million, N5 million in the forest, where would he carry the money to and what will he be doing with such money? Check the leaders of those criminals; let the governors identify who the criminals are. They are not Fulani. He just wants to use that as an excuse to drive our people away from his state. It is just giving a dog a bad name to hang it; the herdsmen are not the kidnappers, let him carry out proper investigations. Let him know this, no any person in this country can push us out of the forests.”