Herdsmen from the Fulani extraction have been advised to disobey the vacation order of Rotimi Akeredolu, the state governor of Ondo.
The advise coming from the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) was issued yesterday by the group’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed in a statement.
Several reactions have continued to trailed the 7-days ultimatum handed to herdsmen to register with the state government or vacate forests in the state.
In issuing the order, Mr Akeredolu said testimonials from kidnap victims points to herdsmen as arrowheads of insecurity bedeviling parts of the state. The presidency in its statement said the governor lacked the power to issue such order.
In its reaction, the NEF expressed shock at the development and advised its kinsmen in Ondo to disrespect lawful authority by remaining where they are.
“If there are criminal elements among the Fulani who live in the State, the Governor should take appropriate steps to identify them and deal with them,” the NEF said.
“Similarly, the Fulani do not enjoy legal immunity in any part of Nigeria. The Fulani are subject to all laws and regulations and must respect the communities with which they live and interact.
“What is dangerous and unacceptable is to profile and demonise the Fulani and treat him outside the laws of the land like all other Nigerians.
“The quit order by the Governor of Ondo will worsen perceptions that the Fulani is unsafe and unwelcome in certain parts of Nigeria.
“They (herdsmen) should collaborate with all legitimate authorities to police their communities against criminal elements but they should resist moves to be labelled entirely as criminals.
“We call on Governor Akeredolu to rescind his order on the Fulani or clarify his position in the event that he is misunderstood.
“He has a responsibility to protect the rights of all people in Ondo State, including the Fulanis and he will be well-advised to engage them towards improving security in the State instead of treating all of them as criminals without rights or protection under the constitution,” the group added.