The Fulani socio-cultural group, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has warned Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu over a statement ordering herders to vacate the forest reserves in the state.
It would be recalled that the governor in a series of tweets, said that the decision is based on the current insecurity in the state.
Akeredolu had said, “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. Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night.
“Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited. 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.”
However, The Miyetti Allah leader, Bello Badejo, told The Sun in an interview that all lands in Nigeria belong to the Fulani’s, hence they will not vacate the forest reserve.
“The Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, doesn’t have any right to give such ultimatum to our people. People, including Fulani, voted for him to be the governor; so he should be the governor of everybody in the state,” he said.
“Fulani have been in the forests he is talking about even before he was born; they have been there for over 250 years. After staying there for a long time and their cow dung turns the place fertile, people would begin to come there to farm and to settle and from then, they begin to make claims that our cattle were destroying their farms.
“We are suing the governor and seeking an injunction restraining him and others from carrying out his threat. But even at that, nobody, no power can send the herdsmen out of Ondo state.
“No 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.
“All the lands in this country belong to the Fulani, but we don’t have any business to do with the land if it doesn’t have areas for grazing. If the land doesn’t have cow food, we won’t have any business with it.
“What we consider are the areas that have cow food. If the place is good for grazing, we don’t need anybody’s permission to go there.
“Fulani can settle in any bush or forest they want the moment they have cows. Any person who thinks he owns any forest should be taken to a psychiatric hospital. Nobody owns any forest; forests are for Nigerians.”