The National Chairman of a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Engr. Buba Galadima has said that Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has no legal backing to evict Fulani herders in Ondo forests because it belongs to the Federal Government.
Galadima, who faulted the governor’s order expressed dissatisfaction with Akeredolu saying that he should have known that he has no right to give such order since he is a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Galadima spoke on AIT Kaakaki, a programme that discusses the state of the nation on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said, “Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State who calls himself a SAN is an educated illiterate. He shouldn’t be giving such orders in the first place. All Nigerians are free to live in any part of Nigeria. It should be that any group of people living in any part of the country should be protected at all costs irrespective of their tribe, ethnicity or religion.
“So also, the Fulani or any other tribe, be it in Ondo, they are under the protection of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Who owns the forest reserves? Who gazetted the ownership of the forest reserve?” Galadima asked.
“It was gazetted by the then colonial masters. Once, it is gazetted, it is a Federal land and even if for instance, it is Ondo land, Nigerians are free to carry out businesses in any part of the country.”
When asked what the Land Use Act 1976 says, he said, “Lands are vested in governors of various States to hold in trust for the people. And in Ondo, they are part of the people that the Act says the governor should hold the land in trust for.
“You see, there are certain things you do; you play the law; you play morality, and you play unity. On this issue, Ondo State governor is supposed to play unity and it’s wrong to declare a certain ethnic group ‘persona non-grata’ in a certain area of your State.”
Furthermore, DailyPost reports that Galadima challenged Akeredolu to a media discussion on his reasons behind the eviction order he served on Fulani herders in Ondo forests.
According to him, the governor has displayed lack of leadership acumen, noting that: “We now know why there was so much acrimony even from the people in Ondo when Akeredolu was running for a second term in office. He has manifested himself so well that he is not a leader.”
Galadima proposed that the state had the right to raid and neutralise the people living in Ondo forest if he sees them as a threat, rather than evict them.
He said, “If what he meant was to have the Fulanis registered for easy identification which he later claimed, how would they be registered in their own country? I am not a Fulani and I am not talking for them. This kind of things should not happen.
“Of course, it is legitimate for government to try to identify the actual people who are carrying out heinous crimes, particularly in the obvious infiltration of foreigners, but not to evict. There is a difference between identification and eviction. What I said is that it is not right to evict anybody.”
Referring to the advice of Kano State Governor, Umar Abdullahi Ganduje that herdsmen should stop migrating from one place to the other as a way of solving the menace of crisis, he said: “I don’t know how old Ganjude is, but looking at his face, I know, he is in his 70s, he should know that Fulanis are found in any part of Nigeria in the last 300 years.
“Some of them in South West, South East or South-South speak their indigenous languages more than their own dialects. They have adopted the culture of the people. What they have left of their culture is the rearing of cattle and I want Nigerians to understand that there is a difference between bandits who kill, who abduct and kill innocent persons and Fulani cattle herders.
“In all these, we haven’t seen any Fulani herder who keeps cattle on a farm and ensures the farmer is killed,” Galadima maintained.