Former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has faulted the presidency’s stance on Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu’s seven-day ultimatum for Fulani herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in the state.
In a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the presidency said it was “least expected” for thousands of herders that have lived all their lives in the state to be unilaterally ousted by Akeredolu on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.
“If this were to be the case, rights groups will be right in expressing worries that the action could set off a chain of events which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against.
“We want to make it clear that kidnapping, banditry and rustling are crimes, no matter the motive or who is involved. But, to define crime from the nameplates, as a number of commentators have erroneously done- which group they belong to, the language they speak, their geographical location or their faith is atavistic and cruel.
“We need to delink terrorism and crimes from ethnicity, geographical origins and religion—to isolate the criminals who use this interchange of arguments to hinder law enforcement efforts as the only way to deal effectively with them,” the presidential statement read in part.
Reacting in a Wednesday statement, Fani-Kayode said that the quit notice was justified in light of the threat to the security of Ondo residents.
Fani-Kayode’s statement read, “The assertion by Garba Shehu that a bunch of murderous thugs, psychopathic vagabonds, barbaric rapists, merciless ritualists & vicious killers have a right to reside in the forests of Ondo and South-West and continue to slaughter and rob our people is insulting, provocative, asinine and absurd.
“Quit notices cannot be given to law-abiding citizens in any part of Nigeria and I have always opposed such notices. However, they can and must be given to those that kill, steal and seek to destroy the lives of others. Murderous terrorists and bloodthirsty and evil men that hide in the forest to ambush, kidnap, kill and destroy innocent and hardworking men and women have no constitutional rights.
“It is the duty of Government to not only flush them out from whichever hole they are hiding but also to despatch them to hell where they belong
“Akeredolu has done & said the right thing and I urge every single South-West Governor to do the same. Fulanis, Hausas, Igbos, Ijaws and ALL Nigerians are welcome in the SW but terrorists, bandits, killers and unhinged, blood-lusting and bloodthirsty psychopaths and sociopaths are not.
“Buhari do your job and stop the killings. Stop turning a blind eye simply because they come from your tribe. Stop brushing this under the carpet and treating them with kid gloves simply because they are your footsoldiers. Stop protecting them and stop encouraging them.
“Stop sacrificing the people of the South-West on the altar of solidarity with the herdsmen and Miyetti Allah. Treat ALL Nigerians as equals and defend them ALL otherwise, people will take measures to protect themselves. Developments in Ibarapa, Oyo state are a glaring testimony to that.”