By Musa Adamu with agency report
The government of Ondo State on Wednesday described the statement issued by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, on the herdsmen situation in Ondo State as dangerous for national unity.
It would be recalled that the State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, issued a 7-day ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in the State.
But the Presidency in a statement signed by Garba Shehu challenged the directive by the government.
Reacting to Shehu’s statement on Sunrisedaily on Channels TV, the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, expressed doubt if President Muhamadu Buhari indeed approved that statement.
He said “One thing is certain, President Muhammad Buhari, by his antecedent, nationalistic posture and the patriotism he is known for, may not have ordered that statement.
“Because it would have been a dangerous one for the unity of this country.
“If true, it would mean certain officials in the Presidency are actually out to create a problem for President Buhari. We must appreciate the effort of this President in his fight against insecurity across the country.
“If indeed he (Shehu) issued the statement, then Garba Shehu owes this nation a great deal of explanation to let people know why he must take up the fight of people masquerading as herdsmen to commit a crime.”
The Commissioner added that the ultimatum was not for law-abiding herdsmen to vacate the State, rather the forest reserves which he described as “monuments and treasure of the people of the southwest.”
He revealed that kidnapped victims are taken to those forest reserves by kidnappers. He disclosed further that criminals are mingling with herdsmen in the forest.
“Some of these criminal elements have gone to mingle with the Fulani herdsmen who have occupied portions of these forest reserves as settlements.
“In any case, kidnap victims are taken into deep into forest reserves. And security agencies have enough evidence that these victims are taken there. So the government is trying to clear the mess by way of regulating the activities of herdsmen.”