Akeredolu demonising herdsmen, says Northern Elders Forum

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•Governor Rotimi Akeredolu

Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Wednesday described as shocking the stand of Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on the Fulani community.

NEF believes that action of the Governor is provocative and unhelpful.

A statement by NEF Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, reads in part: “If there are criminal elements among the Fulani live in State, the Governor should appropriate steps to identify them and deal with them.

“Similarly, Fulani do enjoy legal immunity in any part of Nigeria. The Fulani are subject to all laws and regulations and must respect the communities with which they live and interact.

“What is dangerous and unacceptable is to profile and demonise the Fulani and treat him outside the laws of the land like all other Nigerians.

“The quit order by the Governor of Ondo worsen perceptions that the Fulani is unsafe and unwelcome in certain parts of Nigeria”.

The Forum urges the Fulani community in Ondo to stay put where they are and continue to be law-abiding, adding that: “they should collaborate with all legitimate authorities to police their communities against criminal elements but they should resist moves to be labelled entirely as criminals.

“We call on Governor Akeredolu to rescind his order on the Fulani or clarify his position in the event that he is misunderstood.

“He has a responsibility to protect the rights of all people in Ondo State, including the Fulanis and he be well-advised to engage them towards improving security in the State instead of treating all of them as criminals without rights or protection under the constitution.”

The Nation