Gani Adams : Akeredolu’s quit notice to herders ‘constitutional, calls on Yorubas to support Southwest governors

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, said the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has the rights under the Nigerian constitution to order quit notice ultimatum to illegal residents in the state’s reserved forests, saying it is the duty of the governor as the chief security officer of the state to protect the lives and property of residents in the state.

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, said the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has the rights under the Nigerian constitution to order quit notice ultimatum to illegal residents in the state’s reserved forests, saying it is the duty of the governor as the chief security officer of the state to protect the lives and property of residents in the state.

Akeredolu, on Monday, gave a seven-day ultimatum to herders to vacate forests in the state, following the growing insecurity allegedly perpetrated by the pastoralists.

But in a swift reaction,the presidency, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, maintained that asking the herders to vacate the reserved forests could set off a chain of events which the constitution anticipated and tried to guard against.

He said there is little to be said other than to call for restraint on both sides and urge the state government and the leadership of the Fulani communities to continue their dialogue for a good understanding that will bring to an urgent end, the nightmarish security challenges facing the state.

But in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, Aare Adams said the presidency had failed to address the security situation across the country.

The Yoruba leader described Garba Shehu’s statement as a threat to the sanctity of the state,and a delibrate attempt to work against the state government’s interest, especially, on issue of security.

Aare Gani Adams said though the reserved forests are some of the heritages of the federal government, they are under the jurisdiction of the state government .

“Garba Shehu/Presidency apparently doesn’t know the meaning of a reserved forests. It’s not accessible except to authorized personnel/loggers. Apart from the place being a place for valued cash trees, it’s also meant as a haven of safety for protected animals against poachers. The herdsmen living in the forest are not only unauthorized, they would likely cut down trees to make fires and must also kill animals for food”.

” A reserved forest is not a place of residence for anyone, not even Ondo indigenes or farmers. It is most unfortunate that such a statement is coming directly from the presidency, who according to the constitution, has the prerogative to protect the lives and property of citizens in the country now looking for ways to foil the good plans and intentions of the state government to get rid of the bad elements that are masquerading as herders and pastorists in the state.

Iba Gani Adams said the reserved forests were meant to be the heritage of the state and not for herders or pastoralists, maintaining that Akeredolu as the governor is the chief security officer of the state and that he has the right under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) to protect the lives and property of the citizenry, and also resist any attempt to turn the reserved forest to herders’ abode or ranch.

“We are all a witness to the various security challenges in Ondo State.

The governor’s convoy was attacked on two occasions. Two prominent Obas in the state have been kidnapped on different occasions”.

“The security situation in the state is always nightmarish because it was in Ondo State that a first class monarch was killed by bandits masquerading as Fulani herdsmen. It was also in Ondo State that a university lecturer was abducted. It was in Ondo State that the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was murdered, even Chief Olu Falae’s farm was invaded on four occasions, leading to the death of one of our members, who was a security man”.

“These sad events and several others largedly showed that the state is in serious security challenges and it is in the interest of the state for Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to respond swiftly to the various security challenges”

“I am from Akoko North West in Ondo State, all our reserved forests have been taken over illegally by these illegal residents. So, the governor’s decision is in the right direction and it is in the interest of the state.

” I am now using this opportunity to call on all Yoruba sons and daughters to support all the governors in the South-West in their fight against insurgency across the region.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.