NEF To Buhari, Governors: Explore Measures To Lower Tensions In The Country

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BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Sunday counseled President Muhammadu Buhari and Governors to consult and explore measures that will lower tensions in the country and assure all Nigerians that we live in a country where laws have meanings, and all citizens have equal rights to live under secure environments.

This is just as it declared that the fight against armed criminals must be pursued on all fronts and with a lot more seriousness, stressing that the criminal must not reap from the suspicions and fears which his activities also generate.

The Forum particularly noted that continuing narratives and threats, including comments from seemingly responsible Nigerians and even elected officials who swore to protect the rights of all citizens and the survival of the country, are raising fears and passions that could make it easy to break more laws of the land and pitch citizens against each other.

These were contained in a statement by the Director, Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed in which it said that there are efforts to create multiple sources of falsehood in videos and other inflammatory materials in the media clearly targeted at inciting people to act violently against each other.

The NEF noted that allegations of planned or actual genocide are being made with reckless abandon, and even the international community is being lobbied in futile efforts to sell the fiction that some groups are intent on mass extermination of other groups.

According to the NEF; “The latest communication by the Yoruba Council of Elders to the United Nations is an example of lamentable desperation of some groups to erode our security and integrity as a country, and it is more regrettable that it is the handiwork of so-called elders who should forfeit all rights to that honour.

“Now the nation is facing imminent threats from persons who are bent on pushing all of us nearer to disaster, to help them achieve their nefarious goals.

“In the last few weeks, the Forum has led many responsible groups and individuals to appeal for restraint and respect for the law in the way we engineer developments that cause tensions, or react to them,” it said.

The NEF said that it is committed to continuing working to retrieve the country from the dangerous cliff where it has been placed by irresponsible people, many of them in positions of responsibility.

It further said; “We have plans to meet with governors in the North and South to improve responsible collaboration and synergy, and we intend to visit communities where we have influence to lower tensions and provide assurances and comfort.

“We repeat our demands that Fulani who have broken no laws must be protected from abuse wherever they are.

“We ask all governments to identify criminals among the Fulani and subject them to the laws of the land. Similarly, we demand the cessation of threats and attacks by local ethnic defenders on Fulani communities.

“People who have broken the law by attacking and harassing Fulani for just being Fulani must be brought to book.

“We encourage all law-abiding herders to stay put and seek protection, and if they cannot be protected, to relocate to safer areas in the country. We urge northern governors to prepare to receive law-abiding Fulani herders who may be compelled to re-locate. “We urge all northerners to assure Nigerians from other parts of the country that they are safe and welcome to continue to stay in the north,” it said.

The Forum stressed that it is not a crime to be member of any ethnic group, thus no one has the right to attempt to expel any Nigerian from places where they live lawfully.

The NEF said that it is constrained to invite the nation’s attention to the dangers of sustained attempts to raise tensions and create fears among Nigerians until, presumably, they lead to major crisis involving groups and regions in the country.

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