By Seun Adeuyi
No one has the right to expel any Nigerian from any part of the county, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has warned.
The Forum also added that the country’s constitution guarantees freedom of movement to all Nigerians within the country.
Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, had ordered all herdsmen to vacate the state’s forest reserve within seven days with effect from Monday, 18th January.
The governor gave the order via his Twitter handle last Monday.
He attributed the causes of kidnapping and other nefarious acts in the state to the activities of some bad elements ‘masquerading as herdsmen’.
Responding to Governor Akeredolu’s seven days quit notice, on Saturday, the ACF asked the governor to follow the provisions of the constitution on the matter.
In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Emmanuel Yawe, the ACF stated that the constitution guarantees freedom of movement to all Nigerians within the country, adding that if the Fulani herdsmen in Ondo have committed any crime, they should be prosecuted and punished as provided by the laws of the land.
It read partly, “Like the misguided people, who ordered Bishop Kukah out of Sokoto, we make bold to inform Nigerians that nobody has the right to expel a Nigerian from a particular part of Nigeria.
“Every offence has its own punishment and the Forum has not seen a law which says a Nigerian should be denied the freedom to settle anywhere and pursue legitimate business according to the law.”
According to him, the Fulani herdsmen who are at the receiving end of the Ondo state’s recent quit order are often victims of banditry themselves.
Yawe said they are frequently attacked, kidnapped for ransom and their cattle are often rustled.
“They need the protection of the state. Those of them with proven cases of crime should be prosecuted according to law,” he further said.
“This is what we expect from Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, and former National President of Nigerian Bar Association to do and not issue an order herding all cattle rearers out of his state,” the ACF maintained.