Ola Ajayi – Ibadan
Senior Elders Forum of the Yoruba Council of Elders has said the position of the Presidency on the seven-day ultimatum given to herders by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to vacate forest reserves in Ondo State is a source of concern to people in the six states of the South West.
The elders the comments by the spokesperson for the presidency were unbecoming of any Government which has the interest of its citizens at heart.
Speaking through one of its former Presidents, Dansaaki Samuel Adeleye Agbede, the elders said, “these herders have killed several princes, regents, and lately a first-class traditional ruler in Yoruba land. What do they want Governor Akeredolu to do? To fold his hands and watch all these atrocities happening around him on daily basis?
“If the spokesperson for the presidency is not sincere about security, those at the receiving end are already fed up with the insecurity in the nation particularly in Ondo State”.
“What has the presidency got to gain by encouraging criminals to be in thick forest killing people? Just last Saturday, a deputy registrar was killed at Iwaraja in Osun State.”
According to the elders, it has been established that most of these criminals are foreigners from Niger, Bourkina Fasso, Mali”. They encroach upon us in our country and unleash terror.”
“Why then should the presidency be encouraging them when it sees all these killings, kidnap and rapes? Recall a lady and her husband who came from America with their young daughter were subjected to traumatic rape for over a week in the forest by these criminals”.
“The presidency or its spokesperson is in erroneous belief that security is a tribal issue. Governor Akeredolu is not speaking for himself but for the people of Ondo and by extension people in the six states of the South West zone.”
“Governor Akeredolu has been highly traumatized and embarrassed by the senseless killings, rapes and banditry caused by these herders.”
“Now, our people are frightened to go to their farms because these criminals would watch until their maize grows up and then take their cattle there to destroy it. We don’t want to believe that they are encouraging these things to happen so that the South West will be a consumer nation for agricultural products because it is the North that is feeling free to bring agricultural products to the South West.”
“We, in YCE, want to tell them that we are solidly behind Governor Akeredolu. It’s not a thing that any Government should encourage. If people want to trade, it shouldn’t be in the thick forest of another state killing people.”
“We can’t imagine other nationalities coming from East, West, and South going into the forest in the North and destroying their farms. Will the Northerners sit and watch? Will the FG tell them they don’t have rights to take any action against the Intruders”?
“Akeredolu is on the right course. We call on other governors in the zone to take similar action and send these criminals out of our forests. They are nothing but criminals”.