Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has condemned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu for ordering the arrest of the Yoruba Ethnic Rights Activist, Sunday Adeyemo is popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
The Forum also supported Ondo Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s resolve to rid the forest reserves of bandits engaged in kidnappings and other crimes.
MBF said the governor has the right to protect his people from bandits.
The forum said it is: “Unacceptable for the Federal Government to interfere in the genuine efforts deployed by Governor Akeredolu to end the ceaseless abductions of peaceful citizens for ransom.
“We find it inscrutable for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration to insist on defending criminals whose major preoccupation is unleashing violence and terror on peaceful communities”.
MBF National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, in a statement, said: “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum has been drawn to the storm of reactions over the quit notice issued by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to criminal herders to either vacate the state forest reserves or face the full wrath of the law.
“We are also worried at the turn of events in the South-west and the order issued by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, for the arrest of Mr Sunday Adeyemo, AKA Igboho, over his alleged role in the violence that took place at the weekend in Oyo state.
“While we welcome the bold decision by the governor to protect lives and property of citizens threatened by the activities of bandits that have now found safe havens in forests, we are completely opposed to any action by the Federal Government to escalate the ongoing tension as demonstrated by the arrest order on Igboho.
“As the Chief Security Officer of Ondo State, Governor Akeredolu is rightly entitled to protect citizens that are now under constant siege by criminal elements.
“For those who insist that the quit order on criminal herders amounts to infringing the citizenship rights of Fulani, the Forum wishes to reiterate that Akeredolu’s quit order is to unregistered herders occupying the forests and involved in kidnappings and banditry”.
What the Federal Government should do, MBF said is to assist Akeredolu and other governors to flush out these criminals and end the culture of lawlessness ripping across not only Ondo but also other states where these outlaws have turned: “our nation’s forest reserves into safe harbors for their crimes.
We stand in solidarity with Governor Akeredolu on his resolve to rid the forest reserves of bandits engaged in kidnappings and other crimes. We call on the Federal Government and other state governors to work in partnership and end the terror perpetrated by these bandits whose occupation of the country’s forest reserves have become present and future dangers to Nigeria as a nation”.