The Presidency has advised Ondo State Government to apply the provisions of the nation’s constitution in its fight against crime.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, says the Presidency has been keenly monitoring events in Ondo State and the orders by the government asking herders to vacate the forests in seven days.
What is clearly emerging, according to the statement, is a lack of consistency in messaging, which in turn leads to various contradictions regarding accuracy and the intent behind the message.
The Presidency therefore calls for restraint on both sides, urging the state government and the leadership of the Fulani communities to continue dialoguing to bring to end the security challenges facing the state.
The Presidency notes that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders, who have lived all their lives in the state, on account of criminals’ infiltration of the forests.
It cautions that the action could set off a chain of events, which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against.
The Presidency makes it clear that kidnapping, banditry and rustling are crimes, no matter the motive or who is involved, but that defining crime by group, language, geographical location or faith is primitive and cruel.
It further says the government of Ondo, and the 35 others across the federation must draw clear lines between criminals and law-abiding citizens who must equally be saved from the infiltrators.