The Muhammadu Buhari adminstration’s reaction to the impending expulsion of herdsmen from Ondo forests was influenced by emotion, the state government says.
In a bid to tackle insecurity, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had, on Monday, directed herdsmen to leave the states forest reserves within seven days.
But Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu issued a statement saying the herdsmen would remain in the forests because Akeredolu had no constitutional power to evict them.
Ondo information commissioner Donald Ojogo, however, said the presidency was mistaken. He said he took Shehu’s comments as the official position of the Buhari government on the matter.
“The Ondo State Government did not ask Fulani to leave the state,” Ojogo said.
“The governor said herdsmen who are unregistered should leave our forests. The statement from Garba Shehu is brazen display of emotional attachments and it’s very inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
“We need clearly defined actions on the part of the Federal Government to decimate the erroneous impression that the inspiration of these criminal elements masquerading as herdsmen is that of power.
“Our unity is threatened, no doubt.
“The question is, are the herdsmen who are perpetrating murder, kidnapping and robbery more important than government and even the Federal Government in this case?
“Ethnic nationality and activism on the part of anyone hiding under the presidency or federal government is an ill wind,” the commissioner said.