FACT CHECK: Did South West Governors Issue Quit Notice to Fulani Herders?

0
497

Claim:

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) on Monday claimed that the order of Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for Herders to quit the state’s forest reserves was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media. According to the forum, Akeredolu only ordered those occupying the forest reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit. Interestingly, Akeredolu’s quit order to herdsmen is widely believed to represent the position of south-west governors.

Verdict:

True. The message was misconstrued and misrepresented.

Full Story:

The Governor of Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu had on Monday, 18th January 2020 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 while meeting with leaders of Hausa/Fulani and Ebira Communities at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s office, Alagabaka, Akure, the state capital.

According to him, the activities of the herdsmen have long been causing a threat to security in the state. He also shared his statement on his official Twitter handle.

It reads: “Today we have taken major steps at addressing the root cause of kidnapping, in particular, and other nefarious activities detailed and documented in security reports, the press and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases in Ondo State.

“These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.

“As the Chief Law and Security Officer of the State, it is my constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the State. In light of the foregoing, the following orders are hereby issued:

  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.”

Verification:

Although Akeredolu’s statement on Twitter never explicitly mentioned illegal occupation of the forests as the reason behind the quit order, it however noted that the state government has provided a window for herders who wish to continue grazing business in the forest to register with appropriate authorities.

The statement also noted that interested herders had a grace period of seven days to register with appropriate authorities. In other words, all herders including bad elements masquerading as herdsmen had been occupying the state’s forest reserves without any form of identity or registration.

Therefore, the state government thought it would be wise to know who is who in the forest in view of rising insecurity allegedly perpetrated by herders from the forests.

Also, other South-West governors never lent their voice to calls for herders to quit states in the region. Their position must have been confused for that of Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho who vowed to evict criminal herdsmen from the South West.

Conclusion:

Reports that Governor Akeredolu Issued Quit Notice to Fulani Herders was misconstrued and misrepresented. Neither did other South-West governors issue quit notice to herders.