The Ondo State Government, on Wednesday, attacked Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, for allegedly backing herdsmen against Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Shehu had in a statement on Tuesday condemned the seven-day ultimatum given to herdsmen by Akeredolu to vacate forest reserves, urging the governor ‘not to act outside the constitution of the country’
The presidential media aide said Akeredolu, being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and indeed a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, would be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.
Reacting while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, insisted that the herdsmen must obey the seven-day ultimatum.
The commissioner said President Muhammadu Buhari did not endorse the statement by the Presidency, adding that Shehu must explain why he has taken up the fight of criminal elements who masquerade as herdsmen.
He said, “One thing is certain, President Muhammadu Buhari, by his antecedents, by his nationalistic posture and by his patriotism that he is known for, may not have directed that statement. I am almost persuaded to think that Garba Shehu didn’t issue that statement because that would have been a very dangerous one for the unity of this country. I am waiting to confirm and if it is true, then, he may have miscommunicated properly to the people of Nigeria.”
Ojogo said if confirmed that Shehu made the statement, then, “it would mean that certain persons in the Presidency, certain officials in the Presidency are actually out to create problems for President Muhammadu Buhari. We must appreciate the efforts of this president in his fight against insecurity across this country. Insecurity is becoming a national issue; no part of the country is insulated from crisis.
“If Garba Shehu indeed issued that statement, then, he owes the people of this country a great deal of explanation to let people know why he must take up the fight of criminal elements. I do not believe by his pedigree that he might want to offer himself as the spokesperson for people masquerading as herdsmen and committing crimes. I don’t want to believe he has offered himself as the spokesperson for criminal elements who are operating under herdsmen.”
The commissioner further said security agents have enough facts that victims of kidnappings in the state were being taken into the thick of the forest reserves by criminal elements who have infiltrated the ranks of the Fulani herdsmen who presently occupy portions of the forest reserves, noting that the state government was bent on clearing the “mess”, hence, all herdsmen in the forest reserves must vacate the place before Monday, January 25, 2021.
SaharaReporters, New York