Akeredolu’s Quit Notice to Fulani, Constitutional – Falana

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Akeredolu's Quit Notice to Fulani, Constitutional - Falana
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Femi Falana, SAN, has said that the order given by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State asking herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in the state within seven days is legal.

Falana in a statement issued on Sunday said the governor was within his constitutional rights to issue such order.

He cited Section 42 (1) (e) and (g) of the Forestry Law of Ondo State which provided that whoever in any forest reserve, except with authority in writing of the prescribed officer, digs, cuts, turns or cultivates the soil or makes a farm or plantation; pastures cattle or permits cattle to trespass or trespasses in any part of forest reserves in which trespass shall be prohibited by an order of the governor.

The human rights lawyer stated that the Presidency was hasty in issuing a statement last week to condemn the governor without due attention to the law.

Falana said, “Without addressing the relevant provisions of the Forestry Law or reaching out to Governor Akeredolu, the Presidency rushed to the media to challenge the directive of the Ondo State Government as it might affect undocumented herders operating in the said forests. Regrettably, such official mismanagement of the crisis has been allowed to polarise the people along ethnic lines to the detriment of national security.”

However, he urged the state government to extend the deadline given to the herdsmen while also calling on the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria to register with the state government.

Falana stated, “Concerning the brewing crisis in Ondo State, we call on Governor Akeredolu (SAN), to extend the seven-day ultimatum to allow all farmers and herders operating in the forest reserve to register with the state government without any delay.

“The Miyetti Allah and similar groups should ensure that all their members who have not registered with the state government do so without any further delay in the overall interest of the security of the people in the state.”

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to summon a Nigeria Police Council meeting to address the country’s heightened insecurity.

He added, “As a matter of urgency, the Federal Government should mobilise adequate police and other security forces to halt the menace of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other violent crimes in the land.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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