Reacting to the evacuation order given by Akeredolu to criminal herders residing in Ondo forests, the senate has urged governors to implement the federal government’s National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP). This, in it’s judgement would settle the incessant conflict between farmers and herders in the country.
Last month, Akeredolu had ordered herders to vacate the forest reserves in the state. The governor said “bad elements” have turned the reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities. His action was greeted with heavy criticisms, with many condemning the order.
Speaking on the floor of the senate, Abdullahi Adamu, senator representing Nasarawa west, wondered why the governor would give such an order.
“There are rights of residence. I don’t understand why a governor of a state will ask people who are not indigenes of his state to leave his state,” Adamu said while contributing to a motion on insecurity sponsored by Ajayi Boroface, senator representing Ondo north.
“While we see in the social media, houses of people that have been burnt who are not even from the state. We need to find out exactly the truth or otherwise of these allegations of killings as reported.”
Responding, Enyinnaya Abaribe, senate minority leader, said it is criminals that were ordered out of Ondo.
“No Nigerian is being sent away from anywhere. Criminals are being sent away from the forest where they are. When we come here and say such, you send the wrong message out,” he said.
“The message is simple, the police IG has told us, these are criminal elements coming from outside Nigeria and what we should ask ourselves is, if someone is a criminal, and he is in the forest, what is he doing there? We should not water down the issue to please whatever.”
On his part, Smart Adeyemi, senator representing Kogi west, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to seek international help in ridding the country of the alleged foreigners perpetrating crime.
“We are talking about N500 billion for COVID-19 intervention. Nigeria’s problem is beyond COVID-19. That N500 billion is needed to fight insurgency, not for COVID-19,” Adeyemi said.
After the debate, the senate resolved to urge the president to direct the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the newly nominated service chiefs to overhaul the country’s security architecture.
It also urged the security agencies to monitor the country’s forests and combat the proliferation of small and light arms into the country.
When the National Livestock Transformation Plan was formulated by the federal government in 2018, some governors, particularly in the south, said they do not have lands for ranching.