Tension as Northern elders, youths order all Fulani herdsmen in South back to North
* Claim Southerners no longer guarantee their safety
By Steve Oko
As tension, suspicion and fear continue to build across Nigeria ,the Northern Elders Forum, NEF as well as the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNGs, have asked all Fulani herdsmen residing in any part of Southern Nigeria to return to immediately return to the North.
The Northern elders and the youths who gave this order at a joint press conference in Abuja late Tuesday night, claimed that the action had become necessary because the safety of herdsmen could no longer be guaranteed by their Southern hosts.
The groups , therefore, urged them to return to the North with their cattle where their safety could be guaranteed.
This is coming less than two weeks after the Northern youths had given the Federal Government s 30-day ultimatum to reverse the suspension on the proposed controversial Riga.
The northern groups expressed concerns over what they described as “war threats” by Southern leaders against the Fulani herders, saying that “the safety of the herdsmen is very important.”
Addressing a news conference late Tuesday after a meeting of the NEF with the CNGs in Abuja, where the youths demanded the relocation of all the Fulanis back to the north, the NEF’s Chairman, Prof Ango Abdullahi said the elders are in support of the position of the youths saying it was borne out of the realization that the lives of Fulani herders have been put at risk due to the actions and utterances of Southern Governors in recent days.
“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”, he declared.
NEF also advocated the establishment of a judicial enquiry to determine the quantum of loss of properties by herdsmen and farmers and compensation paid to the warring parties. CNG’s spokesperson, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman who presented the position of the Northern youths to the elders stated that the southern governors had on July 9 jointly agreed to stop the unhindered movement of herders and cattle in all the southern states.
He also said that “the governors even arrogated to themselves powers to decide which category of herdsmen can be allowed to live in the South and others whom they tagged as criminal elements.”
He further stated that the situation was worsened after a section of the southern leadership had introduced a fresh round of instigations by indiscriminately blaming the death of the daughter of the Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti on the Fulani and threatening reprisals on northerners contrary to on the spot account of her own driver and the official explanation by the police that the culprits were yet to be identified.
He noted: “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”, the CNGs submitted. (Additional source : Vanguard)
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