The directive by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu that herdsmen should vacate forest reserves in Ondo is illegal, the Muhammadu Buhari government has said.
Akeredolu issued the directive on Monday as part of moves to check incessant kidnapping in the state.
“All forest reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next seven days with effect from today, Monday 18th January, 2021,” the Ondo governor had said.
The Buhari government has, however, opposed the order.
Akeredolu, a senior lawyer, “will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals,” Buhari’s spokesperson Garba Shehu said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The government of Ondo, and all the 35 others across the federation must draw clear lines between the criminals and the law abiding citizens who must equally be saved from the infiltrators.
“Beyond law and order, the fight against crime is also a fight for human values which are fundamental to our country,” Shehu said.
Buhari and Akeredolu are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).