The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) have called Fulani herdsmen to leave the southern part of the country and return to the north.
The groups at a joint press conference in Abuja on Tuesday after a meeting said the call was necessary because of utterances by some prominent southern leaders.
CNG’s spokesperson, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman said some southern leaders are threatening violence against the herdsmen and the lack of federal government’s commitment in finding a solution to farmers and herders clashes have made the herdsmen vulnerable to potential attacks.
He said, “We are worried about their wellbeing. If it is true that their safety can no longer be guaranteed, we rather have them back in areas where their safety is guaranteed. The bottom line is that their safety is far more important than their stay there. This is a country we all wish to keep together but not at the expense of other section.
“Throwing caution to the wind, Gani Adams, Fani Kayode, Yinka Odumakin and a host of other southern regionalists shamelessly insisted on changing the narratives around killing of the Fasoranti lady. In the process, they threatened all forms of violations and breaches against northerners including the threat of an all-out war.
“With all these statements and steps taken by the southern governors and opinion leaders, we are worried that none of the northern governors or federal official has deemed it apt to caution them.
“The failure or neglect of the police to trace a connection between the Fasoranti murder and the seeming prearranged conduct of Fani Kayode, Odumakin and Adams by their haste to shift the blame in order to render the Fulani object of attack is certainly suspicious.
“We are concerned about the sincerity of the federal government in implementing the NLTP going by the manner previous efforts at executing development projects like the Mambilla hydro-electric power project and several initiatives on the herdsmen dilemma were invariably stalled.
“We are equally worried that the NLTP is vested in the office of the vice president that is believed to have frustrated previous projects meant for the north.
“We find it difficult to trust the commitments of this government which has for the past four years failed to execute any positive initiative towards resolving the herders problems nor shown any encouraging concern for the dilemma of the Fulani who have been attacked in various states.
“Based on the above observations sir, and the fact that the instigation of hatred against the Fulani persists, we feel obliged to advise the leadership of the Northern Elders Forum to consider calling on the Fulani to forego their right to live and flourish anywhere in the south and relocate to their various states in the north to ensure their safety noting the inherent return value of such denial.”
Chairman of NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi responding to CNG’s concerns said they would rather have the herdsmen returned to the north indeed if their safety is no longer guaranteed in the south.
“I will like to take a particular note of the last paragraph of your presentation especially with what we have heard in the last few hours that some violence had already started to manifest in some sections of the country against the herdsmen, who for all known reasons have been in peaceful co-existence in the communities where they have lived for many years.
“Now, certainly we are worried about their safety, like we are worried about the safety of every Nigerian who decided to live wherever they want to.
“But then, if there is no certainty that their safety is guaranteed by the authorities that are immediately around them or by the authorities that have the responsibility for the overall security of all Nigerians wherever they reside, we are certainly worried about their wellbeing and I think particular attention should be paid to what is happening on hour-to-hour, day-to-day basis.
“And if it is indeed, true that there safety is not guaranteed in the places where they are residing, we would rather have them back into areas where there safety is guaranteed, and this is coming back as much as possible to the North.
“They who are residents there should keep us informed and those of us who are monitoring from here should also keep ourselves informed about what is happening,” he said.