Ondo Unrest: Miyetti Allah Sends Fearful Message To Akeredolu, No Power Can Remove Us From Ondo Forests
As the seven-day ultimatum given by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to herdsmen occupying Ondo state forests expires tomorrow, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has announced that no authority can evict Fulani herdsmen from the forests of the state.
The Miyetti Allah leader stressed in an interview with VINCENT KALU that their people have settled there for over 250 years and so they are not going to follow anyone to leave the area.
He says all the land in Nigeria is owned by the Fulani ethnic community. All the lands of this country belong to the Fulani, but we have no business with land unless it has grazing grounds; unless the land has cow fodder, we have no business with it. We’re not selling land, we’re not planting. The areas which have cow food are what we consider. If the place is good for grazing, we do not need permission from anyone to go there,” he said.
Ondo State Government has given them a seven-day ultimatum to leave the forests in the state following allegations of kidnapping and robbery carried out by Fulani herdsmen, what is your response?
The governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has no right to give our people such an ultimatum. People have voted for him to be the governor, including Fulani; he should be the governor of all in the state.
Even before he was born, Fulani were in the woods he speaks about; they’ve been there for over 250 years. Fulani will go and live there, no matter how dangerous the forest could be. People would begin to come there to farm and settle after living there for a long time and their cow dung makes the place fertile, and from then on, they would begin to make allegations that our cattle were destroying their farms.
We are suing the governor and requesting an injunction to prohibit his threat from being carried out by him and others. But even then, no one, no authority, can send the herdsmen out of Ondo State.
When would you go to court as the ultimatum is going to expire soon?
Consultations with our legal team are being carried out. But before then, our people in the forests and all their businesses should avoid humiliating the Governor and his people.
No herdsman is going to follow the governor; the herdsmen are not going to come out of the Ondo forest an inch; they’re going nowhere. We are not going to obey the governor; it is only Nigeria’s constitution that we obey. Before he was born we were in that town, how can he just grow up and ask us to leave; no Fulani can leave that spot.
What are the reasons for his termination notice?
He said that the herdsmen kidnap and steal people and they operate from the forests.
We do not endorse any form of crime, such as armed robbery, abduction, gun-running, etc. These crimes are the reasons why we have the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the DSS, and even the Civil Defense to nab suspects, and there are courts everywhere to prosecute them, and if found guilty, they are punished accordingly. The governor is the state’s chief security officer, and for the crimes committed in the state, there is no excuse why he should classify one ethnic group. In the state, he is expected to accommodate more Fulani and not push them out. Driving them out is not the answer.
I just finished a meeting with my Fulani colleague and we find out that certain people are going to decorate Fulani attire to commit different crimes. How would Fulani men who live in the forest abduct people from N5 million to N10 million and ask them to pay ransom? What would he do inside the forest with that kind of money; if you pay N20 million to herdsmen, N10 million, N5 million in the forest, where would he take the money and what would he do with that kind of money? Check those criminals’ leaders; let the governors define who the criminals are. Fulani, they’re not. This is exactly what he wants to use as an excuse to force our people out of the forest.
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