The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) on Monday declared that nobody can ask herdsmen to leave any part of the country.
It said the Fulanis, just like other Nigerians, can choose to live in any part of the country to do legal business.
The NGF, which warned against profiling of any ethnic group as being responsible for kidnappings and other criminal activities in the country, said the focus should be on stamping out criminals and not herdsmen.
Chairman of the NGF and Ekiti Governor Kayode Fayemi spoke in Akure, the Ondo capital during a stakeholder meeting with security agencies, national leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) and the NGF.
Fayemi urged members of MACBAN not to have any fears of doing their legal business in any part of the country adding that they were laws to be obeyed.
He reiterated there was no eviction order for herdsmen in Ondo State or any part of the South West region.
He said the speech of Ondo Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, was misconstrued in the media and was only directed at government reserves including registration.
He said Akeredolu didn’t talk about herdsmen vacating the state but about the registration of herdsmen who want to operate within the reserves.
Others present were Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Kebbi Governor Abubakar Bagudu; Osun Governor Gboyega Oyetola; Oyo Governor Seyi Makinde and their Jigawa State counterpart, Bagudu Abubakar.
Governor Makinde noted that security issues should not be politicised, saying those escalating the issues could not even govern their families.
Makinde stated all stakeholders worked together to chase criminals out of Kisi area in Oyo State.
His words: “We will not use criminality to solve another criminality.
“The intended consequences of such an action cannot be predicted. We will continue to encourage our people to work together to face the common enemy, the criminals, bandits, kidnappers. Those are our common enemy.
“We have to also deal with the issues of fake news. It is fake news everywhere. They are seeking power by misinforming people. We will continue to promote good neighbourliness among our people. We will ensure we go after the criminals.”
Bagudu said it was pleasing for Fulanis and security agencies to agree to work together to end criminalities.
The Governor, who backed Akeredolu’s vacation order on forest reserves, said: “You cannot go and occupy somebody’s house without permission from him.”
Akeredolu explained that he never gave herdsmen ultimatum to leave the state.
He said it was the duty of the herdsmen to provide information to security agencies.
“We have a duty to our people and everybody in the state. Can any Governor ask anybody to leave the state? This is Nigeria. We have registered over 70, 000 farmers and they pay every year.
“If you are going to go there, then register. You owe a duty to pass information. These criminals should not be able to fester. We must nip it in the bud. We must protect our people. We will not play to the gallery. A lot has to be done.
“We can fight the security challenges together if we are prepared. Let us identified these criminals and move them out of the forest reserves. We will make that place not convenient for them. We must flush them out.
“Let us work together and flush out these criminals. I have been under serious pressure. When the pressure is on us, it is as if we are doing nothing. Let us help ourselves. It is your duty to point them out.