Members of the Northern Elders Forum and the Coalition of the Northern Groups have asked Fulani herdsmen to leave the southern part of Nigeria. They s
Members of the Northern Elders Forum and the Coalition of the Northern Groups have asked Fulani herdsmen to leave the southern part of Nigeria. They said the herdsmen should return to the North where their safety and that of their property could be guaranteed.
The northern elders and the youths said they were worried that some southern leaders had allegedly openly threatened war against the Fulani herdsmen. They claimed that for this reason, all the herdsmen from the North living in the South should return home.
Recall that the controversial Ruga policy suspended by the Federal Government generated various reactions with southern leaders rejecting it. The southern leaders had argued that it was wrong for the Federal Government to take people’s land by force and give it to herdsmen who were operating personal businesses.
The rejection was further fuelled by kidnappings and killings of innocent men and women by the suspected herdsmen. Also, the Coalition of the Northern Groups had given the Federal Government a 30-day ultimatum to resolve the objection raised by the southern leaders.
However, at a press conference after a meeting of the NEF with the CNGs on Tuesday in Abuja, where the youths demanded the return of all the Fulani herders to the North, the NEF’s chairman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, also backed the youth’s position. Abdullahi said 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.”
Abdullahi, who is a former vice-chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, also called for the establishment of a judicial enquiry that would be saddled with the responsibility of determining the quantum of loss of properties by herdsmen and farmers.
This, he said, should be done with a view to paying compensation due to each of the warring parties.
Also speaking at the event, the CNG’s spokesperson, 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. He also said the governors even 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 said this was wrong as the culprits had yet to be identified.