Fulani herdsmen living in the southern part of the country have been aked to leave the region and return to the northern part of the country with immediate effect.
The return order was handed down by the Northern Elders Forum and the Coalition of Northern Group on Tuesday, insisting that the safety of the herdsmen could no longer be guaranteed in the South.
The northern elders and the youths said they were worried that some southern leaders had allegedly openly threatened war against the Fulani herdsmen, adding that for this reason, all the herdsmen from the North living in the South should return home.
Tension has been building in the country since the Federal Government suspended the planned implementation of the controversial RUGA project. The CNG followed up by giving the Federal Government a 30-day ultimatum to resolve the crisis sorrounding the project.
NEF leader, Prof Ango Abdulahi spoke at a press conference after a meeting of the NEF with CNG in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Abdullahi, the call on the herders to retrun to the North was borne out of the alleged realisation that their lives had allegedly been put at risk due to the recent actions and utterances of the southern governors.
Abdullahi said: “We are worried about their well-being. 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 sections.”
Speaking also at the press conference, the spokesman of the CNG, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman, alleged that the southern governors had on July 9, 2019, jointly agreed to stop the movement of herders and cattle in the South.
According to him, the governors also arrogated to themselves powers to decide which category of herdsmen could be allowed to live in the South and others whom he said they allegedly tagged as criminals.
Sulaiman also regretted that herdsmen were being blamed for the killing of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of the Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti.
He insisted that it was wrong to pin it down on Fulani herdsmen, since the culprits had yet to be identified.
He said: “Throwing caution to the winds, Gani Adams, Fani-Kayode, Yinka Odumakin and a host of other southern regionalists shamelessly insisted on changing the narratives around the 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 daughter’s 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 developmental projects like the Mambila 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 forgo their right to live and flourish anywhere in the South and relocate to their various states in the North to ensure their safety.”
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