Akeredolu’s vacation order to herdsmen constitutional – Falana

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Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has urged President Buhari to convene a Nigeria Police Council meeting to address the heightening insecurity in the country.

Falana said this in statement issued while reacting to the seven-day ultimatum given by Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State to herdsmen in the state’s forest reserves.

“As a matter of urgency, the Federal Government should mobilise adequate police and other security forces to halt the menace of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other violent crimes in the land.”

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria cited various sections of the forestry law of Ondo State to prove that the governor’s directive was constitutional.

Falana said the order was in tandem with Section 42 (1) (e) and (g) of the Forestry Law of Ondo State which provided that whoever in any forest reserve, except with the authority in writing of the prescribed officer, digs, cuts, turns or cultivates the soil or makes a farm or plantation; pastures cattle or permits cattle to trespass or trespasses in any part of forest reserves in which trespass shall be prohibited by an order of the governor.

Speaking tacit support for the herdsmen in Ondo forest reserves as contained in the statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, last week, Falana said poor grasp of the Ondo forestry law could have been responsible for the action.

“Without addressing the relevant provisions of the Forestry Law or reaching out to Governor Akeredolu, the Presidency rushed to the media to challenge the directive of the Ondo State Government as it might affect undocumented herders operating in the said forests.

“Regrettably, such official mismanagement of the crisis has been allowed to polarise the people along ethnic lines to the detriment of national security,” Falana said.

He, however, urged the state government to extend the deadline given to the herdsmen while also calling on the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria to register with the state government.

Falana stated, “With respect to the brewing crisis in Ondo State we call on Governor Akeredolu (SAN) to extend the seven-day ultimatum to allow all farmers and herders operating in the forest reserve to register with the state government without any delay.

“The Miyetti Allah and similar groups should ensure that all their members who have not registered with the state government do so without any further delay in the overall interest of the security of the people in the state.”

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