The governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has drummed support for herders in Oyo State, noting that they have the constitutional right to live in any part of the country.
Mr Makinde, speaking during a live broadcast on Wednesday, said the real enemies of the state are bandits and kidnappers. He said the herders are only seeking pasture for their flock.
The governor further said that issuance of ultimatum on herders to vacate any place is an assault on them and against the constitutional right that guarantees freedom of movement.
“We cannot overlook the fact that there have indeed been instances that cause concern. The fragile peace between the herdsmen and farmers in Oke-Ogun is being threatened,” he said.
“Individuals who are not authorised are going around chasing people from their homes and causing mayhem. This assault on residents of Oyo state is not the way to further the Yoruba cause.”
“Let me state that we shall not sit back and watch anyone make any law-abiding resident of Oyo State feel unsafe in their homes, farms, or business places. We are aware of some people circulating flyers and giving people ultimatums to leave their land. This is totally unacceptable and will not be condoned.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which I swore to defend and protect, guarantees freedom of movement in Section 41(1), such that citizens are free to reside in any part of the country without fear. We are determined to preserve that right in Oyo state.”
Mr Makinde’s warning against issuing an ultimatum to herders in Oyo is coming days after the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, asked herders to vacate all forests in the state.
For Mr Akeredolu, the decision was right in order to tackle security challenges that have been rocking the state for years.
Despite criticism from the presidency, Mr Akeredolu insisted that the ultimatum stands.
Meanwhile, the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, said Mr Akeredolu has the rights under the Nigerian constitution to oust ‘illegal’ residents in the state’s forests.
He said it is the duty of the governor as the chief security officer of the state to protect the lives and property of residents in the state.
Expectedly, the Ondo government has maintained that no amount of threats can stop the state government from getting rid of ”bad elements”.
Meanwhile, some youth led by Sunday Igboho, a Yoruba nation ‘agitator’ in Oyo State, have given an ultimatum to herders in the Ibarapa axis of the state to leave.
Mr Igboho issued a seven-day ‘quit notice’ to members of the Fulani community called Igangan in the state.
He claimed that the herders in the town were responsible for the recent rise in cases of insecurity in the state.
“I cannot continue to fold my arms for herders killing my people. We hereby gave them seven days to leave this place,” he said in a widely circulated video.
Mr Igboho’s ultimatum to the herders would lapse on Friday.
But Saliu Abdulkadir, the Sarkin Fulani in the state, told PREMIUM TIMES his people are not responsible for killings and kidnappings ”as they are also sometimes victims”.
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