Ondo reserves: We shouldn’t massage ethnic ego by promoting criminality ― PGF DG

• Recommends stiffer punishment

Director-General of the forum of governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has called for caution over the face-off between the federal and the Ondo State government on the ultimatum issued by the latter to herdsmen to vacate the Ondo State Government Forest Reserves.

The Ondo State government in a statement had asked herdsmen to vacate Forest Reserves in Ondo State within seven days as well as banning night-grazing with immediate effect.

Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Sheu, in a counter-statement had urged the herdsmen to disregard the order as he claimed that it breached the fundamental rights of the targeted herdsmen.

The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’Forum, however, warned that the impression must not be promoted that the Federal Government was massaging the ego of criminal elements in the country.

He called for stronger collaboration between government at all levels to tackle the banditry and kidnapping across the country.

“Nigerians need to wake up to the reality that preventing or arresting criminal activities such as kidnapping and banditry cannot be achieved by massaging our ethnic and religious sentiments. These are criminal activities that can hardly succeed without the collaboration of community and religious leaders. In fact, there are also strong allegations of even collaboration of security officials.

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“We, therefore, need to forge stronger national unity in the country to be able to initiate the kind of reforms, which can produce the expected outcomes. In addition to forging stronger national unity, we should include the issue of stiffer sanctions for both the criminals and their collaborators, much more than what is provided in our current laws. There is no reason why we should not consider the introduction of death penalties for both the criminals and their collaborators, for instance.”

Lukman further called for caution on both sides.

“The issue is about responding to a national challenge. It is about Nigeria, which is why our leaders must exercise restraint when making public statements. If a statement is made, which potentially breach provisions of our constitution, any statement capable of activating our fault lines must be avoided. When we need to correct possible challenges arising from statements issued by our leaders, it mustn’t be a case of double jeopardy. Two wrongs will never make a right.

“At all times, our leaders and all of us must carry the burden of national unity such that statements and proposals for reforms should inspire Nigerians to respect each other and recognise the incontestability of supporting initiatives from every part of the country in order to prevent or arrest crime, no matter its strength. As our party manifesto rightly emphasised, ‘It is no longer a question of choice but of will and courage!”

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Ondo reserves: We shouldn’t massage ethnic ego by promoting criminality ― PGF DG

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Ondo reserves: We shouldn’t massage ethnic ego by promoting criminality ― PGF DG

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