The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has cautioned the Nigerian government against supporting Fulani herdsmen over the directive given by the Ondo State Government that they should leave the forest reserves in the state. 

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, had on Monday issued a statement giving herdsmen seven days to vacate all forest reserves due to the high rate of kidnapping in the state.

File photo used to illustrate story.

The Nigerian government, however, condemned the directive, cautioning Akeredolu over making such decisions.

But in a statement issued by SMBLF on Thursday, the group asked the Nigerian government to desist from backing herdsmen against Akeredolu's order and allow Ondo State Government make decisions to protect its citizens.

The group also called on all governors in non-Fulani communities being forced to live under Fulani terror to take proactive measures to secure their people lawfully.

The statement read, "We are supposed to be a Federal Republic and Forest Reserves in states are fully residual matter to which the Federal Government has no business with.

"The Federal Government's statement by Garba Shehu that the Governor of Ondo lacks the full powers to decide on its reserves in spite of the Land Use Act that vests land in states in the hands of governors was a complete overreach and clear abuse of the constitution in a bid to elevate Fulani herders above the law.

"It is a continuation of the obsessive attachment to Miyetti Allah like the President instructing Governor Samuel Ortom to go and live peaceably with killers after Miyetti Allah killed 78 residents of the state in January 2019, to prevent Ondo from holding its rights on its reserves in the face of persistent killing of its people by herders occupying the reserves illegally. No decent or responsible governor would allow what the Federal Government wants for Fulani herdsmen.

"SMBLF therefore asks the Federal 
Government to withdraw the unjust diktat and allow Ondo to enforce the law.
We equally call on all governors in all non-Fulani communities who are being forced to live under Fulani terror to take proactive measures to secure their people lawfully.

"Should there be any breakdown of law and order in any part of the country over this encouragement of Miyetti Allah against law and order, President Muhammadu Buhari will be held squarely responsible."

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