ONDO v HERDSMEN: Government will not rescind its orders - Jimoh Dojumo

ONDO v HERDSMEN: Government will not rescind its orders - Jimoh Dojumo

The Senior Special Adviser (Security matters) to Ondo State Governor, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, has said that the government is not backing down on the Fulani herdsmen's ultimatum to vacate the forest reserves of the state.

He said it the order became necessary following the constant rise of kidnappings and killings in the state.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had on Monday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Fulani herdsmen in the state, asking them to vacate the state's government forest reserves with immediate effect.

But in what looks like a loggerhead, the Presidency replied a day later by saying that Akeredolu "will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of infiltration of the forests by criminals."

In an interview with The VANGUARD, The security adviser to Akeredolu reiterated that the quit notice stays regardless of the Presidency's position.

Dojumo said, "The order became necessary having considered all options to check incessant kidnapping, killing of the people and destruction of farm crops.

The state government had a meeting with the leadership of herdsmen in the state on checking the activities of armed herdsmen kidnapping and killing people in Ondo before the governor issued the order. 

The security situation in the state is becoming unbearable. All of us living in the state know that it's becoming unbearable that after the #EndSARS saga, there was not a day that one to two people will not kidnapped in the state. 

"This situation is embarrassing, disturbing even to the fact that our Amotekun Corps is overstretched and the best thing is to look for a way out which led to the invitation of Fulani and Hausa leaders where we rubbed minds together to address this issue of insecurity. 

It was there we discovered that we needed to go ahead for a solution. 
During the meeting, we discovered that most of the destruction of farmers' crops occurs during night grazing."

Addressing the position of the Presidency regarding the issue, the security expert said:  "I want to believe that President Muhammadu Buhari is not in the picture of what is happening here because if he had the clear picture of what is happening in Ondo State, there wouldn't have been any negative reaction. 

We voted for him before he became the President and he is there to protect us and not to destroy us."

The retired police chief advised that if anyone intends to use or occupy the forest reserves, there is a need for registration or permission from the state government.

" The truth is that if they still want to remain in the forest, let them come and register; we want to know the people occupying our forest. If people want to live in your house, you should know them and identify them, so we want to know those occupying our forest and no illegal occupants.

"if they are ready to cooperate, no problem, the order is that they should quit the forest or register with the state government and whoever that wants to farm or do any other business within the forest, there must be means of identification, and we must know their origin. 

Government will not rescind the order. We are determined to put an end to kidnapping and killings in the state. Those perpetrating the heinous act are using the forest to cover their crimes, and we stressed the need to flush out criminals from the forest," Dojumo stated.