Southern and Middle Belt leaders

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has said the President Muhammadu Buhari government is elevating Fulani herdsmen above Nigerian law.

The forum warned against what it called continuous support for Fulani Miyetti Allah at the detriment of other tribes in the country.

In a statement yesterday by its spokesmen, Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the forum said forest reserves in states are fully a residual matter with which the Federal Government has no business.

The forum said it was regrettable that the Federal Government is encouraging Miyetti Allah to violate lawful order of Ondo State government banning grazing in its forest reserves.

According to it, the Federal Government’s statement through the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu lacks full powers to decide on Ondo State forest reserves, in spite of the Land Use Act that vests lands in states on the governors, was a complete overreach and clear abuse of the constitution in a bid to elevate Fulani herders above the law.

The forum, therefore, asked the Federal Government to withdraw the “unjust diktat” and allow the Ondo government to enforce the law, noting that no decent or responsible governor would allow what the Federal Government wants for Fulani herdsmen.

The leaders also call on all governors in non-Fulani communities who are forced to live under Fulani ‘terror’ to take proactive measures to secure their people lawfully.

They said President Buhari would be held responsible, should there be any breakdown of law and order in any part of the country over his encouragement of Miyetti Allah against law and order.

“It is a continuation of the obsessive attachment to Miyetti Allah like the President instructing Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to go and live peaceably with killers, after Miyetti Allah killed 78 indigenes of the stare in January 2019. To prevent Ondo from holding its rights on its reserves in the face of persistent killings of its people by herders occupying the reserves illegally will not be acceptable,” the forum said.