By Deji Elumoye
The Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has backed the Governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, over the one-week ultimatum given to herders to vacate Ondo forests in the wake of rising criminal activities in the state.
It also advised the five other governors in the South West geo-political zone to emulate Akeredolu and flush herdsmen out of their respective states.
National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, in a statement entitled “Ondo Forests: Fulani Presidency Again!” issued on Wednesday
stressed the need for all Yoruba to stand by Akeredolu and other South West Governors in their bid to rid the zone of the excesses of the Fulani herdsmen.
“All true-born Yoruba should stand behind Governor Akeredolu in these trying times.
He must do all within the law to flush Ondo forests of all criminals. Other Governors should emulate their chair and free our land from the Fulanis who have surrounded us with the shield of the Federal Government.”
The group declared that it was not surprised by The Presidency’s reaction to Akeredolu’s move to eject the herders from the forests saying government at the centre had always protected Fulani interests against other groups.
It said: “The intervention by what we mistakenly call the Federal Government of Nigeria on behalf of marauding Fulanis in Ondo state against the lawful government in that state did not come to Afenifere as a surprise as it is in line with non – pretence by this regime that it represents only Fulani interests against those of Yoruba, Igbo, Junkun, Ijaw and other tribes in Nigeria”.
Afenifere further submitted:
“That the Federal Goverment and its minion, Garba Shehu could only hear Ondo state when Governor Akeredolu was very loud and clear about herders to vacate forest reserves in the state is symptomatic that this Goverment has a serous problem with hearing the rest of us when the issue involves its annointed Fulanis.
“The Fulani criminals have caused untold hardships in Ondo state and other Yoruba towns and cities in recent time and only an irresponsible government that wants to behave like our Federal Government that cares not will continue to fold its arms. Are Ondo Forest Reserves under Ondo state Government or Federal Government and Miyetti Allah? We agree with the Ondo State Goverment that the insensibility of Garba Shehu violates the corporate existence of Nigeria.
“What has this government done to assure our people that it can protect our lives with the open murders of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, The Olufon of Ifon and the Deputy Registrar of FUTA among many others? The lives of our people and other non-Fulani communities are daily being taken by local and foreign Fulani bandits without any sign that these lives matter to the government with its desire to shield the Fulani from the laws.
“Nobody would ever have believed that it would get to this irresponsible stage that the Federal Government will one day come to this barbaric level Garba Shehu has taken it and the peak of their direct salvos against Amotekun since it started.
“Let them declare open war on behalf of the Fulani and our ancestors will all wake up in their graves”.