Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has supported Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for asking herdsmen to vacate Ondo State forest reserves within seven days.
He argued that the objective was to ensure that the forest reserves were not used as hideouts for kidnappers, Bandits and other criminal elements.
In a statement titled: Caution on Divisive Campaigns And National Security Challenges, he maintained that no rational Nigerian, could oppose the measure generating serious debate, which is at variance with Akeredolu’s intended objective.
Lukman, however, argued that the debate on the issue was a complete departure from Garba Shehu’s call for restraint, which urged the state government and Fulani communities to continue their dialogue for better understanding that would end the security challenges in the state.
He added that the situation required courage on the part of those entrusted with the country’s leadership to be able to initiate any effective reform on the security situation in the country.
“As things are, every Nigerian should recognise that we are in an emergency situation. The false divisive notion of any group initiative independent of others in resolving our security challenges can only worsen the situation.
“The ‘We and Them’ public debate, which appears to dominate national conversation, especially regarding the security challenges is unfortunate.
“We must caution ourselves rise beyond sentiments and emotions. Above all, we must appeal to our leaders to be more circumspect in engaging the issues. Rather than making public statements, which can activate our fault lines, our leaders should develop stronger strategies of engaging all Nigerians to contract and mobilise implementation of agreements.”
Besides, traditional rulers in Ondo State yesterday declared that the Fulani were free to live and conduct their legitimate businesses anywhere in the country including Ondo
They backed Governor Akeredolu’s order on criminal herdsmen to vacate forest reserves within seven days, insisting that the Fulani must respect the private property rights of Ondo people.
Olukare of Ikare, Oba Akadiri Momoh, who stated this in a communiqué issued after their emergency meeting, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to show to the world that he was indeed a father of all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic affiliations.
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