Gani Adams, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, says the presidency is oblivious of the definition of reserved forests.
Gani Adams was reacting to the response given by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, on the directive of the Ondo state government concerning herders .
On Monday, Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, gave herders a seven-day ultimatum to leave forests in the state over rising criminality.
But in a swift response, Shehu said the governor cannot order herders out of Ondo, adding that the action could set off a chain of events “which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against”.
In a statement issued by Kehinde Aderemi, his media aide, Adams said the presidency refused to live up to its duty to secure lives, but is interested in foiling plans by the state government to protect its people.
Adams described Shehu’s response as “unfortunate”, adding that Akeredolu’s decision is in the right direction and in the best interest of the state.
“Garba Shehu/Presidency apparently doesn’t know the meaning of reserved forests. It’s not accessible except to authorised personnel/loggers. Apart from the place being a place for valued cash trees, it’s also meant as a haven of safety for protected animals,” the statement reads.
“Herdsmen living in the forest are not only unauthorised, they would likely fell trees to make fire, and also kill animals for food. A reserved forest is not a place of residence for anyone, not even Ondo indigenes or farmers.
“It is most unfortunate that such a statement is coming directly from the presidency, which, according to the constitution, has the prerogative to protect the lives and property of citizens. But it is a pity the presidency now looks for ways to foil the good plans and intentions of the state to rid bad elements masquerading as herders and pastoralists.
“I am from Akoko North West in Ondo State; all our reserved forests have been taken over by these illegal residents. So, the governor’s decision is in the right direction and in the state’s interest. I call on all Yoruba sons and daughters to support governors in the Southwest in their fight against insurgency across the region.”