Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, the executive Governor of Ondo State is not just a political icon, one who uses politics to advance the greater good of his people, he is also legal luminary; a respected member of the highly silk league of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Secretary General of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch, 1985- 1986, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Ondo State,1997 – 1999, Chairman Legal Aid Council, 2005-2006 and President of the Nigerian Bar Association, a title which he remains the only individual to hold for two terms.
The aforementioned highlights the impressive profile of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, one who is well versed with the tenet of the Nigerian Legal Provisions.
Recent events in the Ondo State and several other states in Nigeria has seen the nefarious activities of herdsmen taking a new turn, the various cases of kidnap, killings and other anti social activities have been attributed to these group of people who occupies the State’s forest deep.
Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN in response to this quoted relevant portions of two laws to pronounce an ultimatum that herders should vacate Government Reserved Forests.
The portions of the law were draw from the Land Use Act of 1978 and the 1969 Trade Cattle Tax Law of Ondo which was promulgated in 1969 prior to the creation of the State, which still sufficed to meet the needs.
The Land Use Act of 1978 states, “ All land comprised in the territory of each State in the Federation are hereby vested in the Governor of that State and Such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefits of all Nigerians in accordance with the Provisions of this Act”.
Also the Trade Cattle Tax Law of 1969 states, “ The Law criminalizes failure to pay the trade cattle tax or failure to take such trade cattle to the appropriate control post for inspection purposes”
Another law which suffice in this case is also the Ondo State Forestry Law of 2006, “ it is a criminal trespass for an individual to occupy a forest reserve without obtaining permit from the State Government through the State Forest Department.”
The aforementioned clearly reveals the legality of the stand of the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN; we must bear it in mind that the State has lost several of its citizens to the cold hand of death through distasteful activities of the herders, with a number of high profile cases to back this claim up, the citizens are agitated and are greatly perplexed with this happenings.
The onus rest on the State Governor who was duly and constitutionally elected to not only advance the State for good but also protect the citizens; it will be a gross violation of the mandate bequeathed to him if he fails to do the needful.
We have a system that is administered and guided based on provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ondo State is a peace loving State, the activities of the herders are a clear cut violation of the Constitution of the Nation, and an outright violation of the trust of the state who welcomed them to live and thrive on their land; Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN understands the Law, his actions have in no way violated the laws of our lands.
It’s high time we look above and beyond ethnicity and tribalism to move the nation forward and secure its future from fallout into the hands of the Anti-Progressives among us.