Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu in a statement released on Tuesday January 19 stated that Akeredolu being a senior lawyer would be the least expected to unilaterally expel thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state, on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.
The presidency which noted that kidnapping, banditry and rustling are crimes no matter the motive or who is involved, added that it is atavistic and cruel to define crime from the nameplates.
The statement read;
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
IN TACKLING CRIME, ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ACT OUTSIDE THE CONSTITUTION
The Presidency has been keenly monitoring events occurring in Ondo State and the “orders” by the government of the state, “asking herders to vacate the forests in seven days.”
What is clearly emerging, is a lack of consistency in messaging which in turn leads to various contradictions regarding accuracy and the intent behind the message. There is little to be said other than to call for restraint on both sides and urge the state government and the leadership of the Fulani communities to continue their dialogue for a good understanding that will bring to an urgent end, the nightmarish security challenges facing the state.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, a seasoned lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and indeed, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has fought crime in his state with passion and commitment, greater sensitivity and compassion for the four years he has run its affairs and, in our view, 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.
If this were to be the case, rights groups will be right in expressing worries that the action could set off a chain of events which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against.”