The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Coalition of the Northern Groups have expressed concerns over the safety of Fulani herdsmen in the Southern part of Nigeria.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, the Forum asked Fulani herdsmen to relocate from the Southern parts of the country back to the north where the safety of their lives and properties can guaranteed.
Chairman of the NEF, Ango Abdullahi, noted that the decision was borne out of the realisation that the lives of Fulani herders have been put at risk due to the actions and utterances of some southern governors.
"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," he said.
"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 and not at the expense of other sections.”
He canvassed the establishment of a judicial enquiry to determine the loss of properties by herdsmen and farmers and compensation due to each of the warring parties.
Also, spokesperson of the group, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman, stated that the southern governors had "jointly agreed to stop the unhindered movement of herders and cattle" in all the southern states.
He alleged that the governors had arrogated to themselves powers to decide the category of herdsmen can be allowed to live in the South and others whom they tagged as criminal elements.
He noted 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 on the Fulani and "threatening reprisal attacks" on northerners.
“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 and the fact that the instigation of hatred against the Fulani persists, we feel obliged to advice 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," he said.
The Fulanis have been in the news recently following Federal Government's decision to establish settlements, Ruga, in all states of the federation.
The controversial Ruga policy was suspended by the federal government after push backs especially from state governors in other parts of the country except the north.