Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s reaction to a directive by Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, asking unregistered herdsmen to vacate all the forest reserves in the state within seven days.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin, in a statement titled, “Ondo Forests: Fulani Presidency Again,” accused the Buhari administration of clearly demonstrating without any pretence that it’s representing the Fulani interest above other tribes in the country.
Lately, killer herdsmen have intensified their involvement in crimes, including kidnappings for ransom in the state and Governor Akeredolu, on Tuesday, also banned underage grazing, night grazing, movement of cattle within the cities and highways.
But Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, on Tuesday, stated that the President called for restraint on the matter by both the state government and the Fulani communities.
Afenifere, however, said, “The intervention by what we mistakenly call the Federal Government of Nigeria on behalf of marauding Fulani in Ondo State against the lawful government in that state did not come to Afenifere as a surprise as it is in line with the non-pretence by this regime that it represents only Fulani interests against those of Yoruba, Igbo, Junkun, Ijaw and other tribes in Nigeria.
“That the Federal Government 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 government has a serious problem with heating the rest of us when the issue involves its anointed Fulanis.
“The Fulani criminals have caused untold hardships in Ondo State and other Yoruba towns and cities in recent times and only an irresponsible government that wants to behave like our Federal Government will continue to fold its arms.
“Are Ondo forest reserves under Ondo State Government or the Federal Government and Miyetti Allah? We agree with the Ondo State Government that the insensibility of Garba Shehu violates the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
Afenifere challenged the Buhari administration to point out what it has done to assure the people of the South-West it had the capacity to protect their lives.
The group added, “What has this government done to assure our people that it can protect our lives with the open murders of Mrs Funke Olakunri, the Olufon of Ifon and the Deputy Registrar of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, 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 Fulanis 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.”
Afenifere, therefore, enjoined all true-born Yoruba to support Akeredolu in these trying times for him to do all within the law to rid Ondo forests of criminals.
It also urged other governors in the South-West to emulate Akeredolu and “free our land from the Fulani who have surrounded us with the shield of the Federal Government.”
“Let them declare open war on behalf of the Fulani and our ancestors will all wake up in their graves,” it stated.