The Arewa Consultative Forum has said it cannot speak yet on the ultimatum given to herdsmen by Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to leave forest reserves in the state within seven days.
According to the ACF, the herdsmen also have problems in the north.
The ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, stated this in an interview with SaharaReporters, adding that the forum would make its full stance known later.
He said, “We would have preferred the herdsmen themselves to comment on it. The ACF is not only made of herdsmen; we are the conglomeration of so many interests. So, we normally don’t want to rush into such things, unless we know the facts.
“Herdsmen even have problems in the North – it is not only in the South. We prefer the herdsmen to talk first.”
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria had in its interview with SaharaReporters stated that the agreement it had with the Ondo State Government was to stop night grazing and use of underage boys to graze cattle, but not to vacate forest reserves.
The Miyetti Allah National Secretary, Baba Usman, noted that the meeting the cattle breeders had with the state government did not include the vacation of forest reserves in the state.
Governor Akeredolu on Monday reportedly ordered Fulani herdsmen to vacate all forest reserves in the state within the next seven days.
Akeredolu in a statement released on Monday had also banned the movement of cattle within cities and highways, as well as night grazing.
The statement read, “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 ransoms 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:
“All Forest Reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next seven days with effect from today, Monday 18th, January, 2021. Night grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night.
“Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited. Underage grazing of cattle is outlawed.
“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. Our resolution to guarantee safety of lives and property within the state shall remain utmost as security agencies have been directed to enforce the ban.”
Akeredolu’s directive was informed by the killings and kidnappings happening in the state, which have largely been blamed on Fulani herdsmen.