By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), have enjoined the Federal Government to take immediate measures to end what they called “raging madness” of the harassment, intimidation, attacks and forceful ejection of the pastoralists and their cattle from some parts of the country.
They observed that there is the urgent need for the Federal Government to quickly address the issue of their resettlement once and for all.
CNG spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman in a statement said, “We demand the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate measures to end the “raging madness” of the harassment, intimidation, attacks and forceful ejection of the pastoralists and their cattle from some parts of the South and to quickly address the issue of their resettlement once and for all.”
CNG also called on the national security agencies to urgently check the escalation of hate-inducing comments by some southern political, cultural and religious leaders aiming to endanger the Fulani by rendering them object of indiscriminate attacks.
The Coalition of Northern Groups explained, “We caution all governors to give peace a chance by cooperating with the then RUGA initiative before its eventual suspension by the federal government which coincidentally came the same day with our statement.
“We expressed concern that southern leaders led by governors of their states had deliberately politicized and frustrated every initiative of the federal government of Nigeria that aimed to find a solution to the lingering conflict over pasture.
“We disagreed with the physical assault, forceful expulsion and instances of killings of the Fulani and their cattle by southerners who were inspired by their leaders’ categorization of every move to resettle the nomadic herders as “Fulanization” or downright “Islamisation” attempts.
“We insisted that with the exception of a handful of criminal elements (produced by every community all over the world), the Fulani, including the herders, are everyday peaceful Nigerians with the same hopes, aspirations and freedom to live and flourish in any part of the country.
“We pointed out the impracticability, injustice and unfairness in expecting the North to continue to accommodate and tolerate others while its own people are forcefully denied the citizens right to live and flourish in other parts of the same country by the same people it hosts.”
The group’s further explained, “As expected, every move by the now awakened North, especially by the CNG to checkmate the unceasing excesses of some southerners or to protect and reassert the right of distressed northerners, generates counter-reactions from the South and a handful unpatriotic northern traitors that have been used to a docile, complacent and weak Northern Nigeria that no longer exists.”
The Coalition noted the seemingly conciliatory steps being taken by the Eastern governors in the form of concessions to Fulani, saying, “We however reiterate our position that no community in Nigeria has the right to lay conditions outside our basic laws for others to live with them.
“Northern communities and the Fulani understand their rights and obligations, and it is an insult to design how they live anywhere in Nigeria without involving them, or through resort to handpicked elements among them to subvert their rights to security and dignity.”
CNG said it lamented the apparent bias of the traditionally hostile section of the southern media that thrives on fear-mongering through misinformation and deliberate distortion, came to the fore in the manner they quickly twisted their presentation aiming to portray them as the villains rather than decent responders to a provocation by manipulating their submission to make it appear as a reaction to the government’s suspension of the Ruga project whereas.
“We are shocked at the assumption of the responsibility by the governors to decide who they will choose to live with in a country with agencies and processes with statutory responsibility to decide who is a criminal and who is innocent. We are not impressed by patronizing and insulting attempt to divide Fulani and Nigerians by leaders who do not appear to understand the implications of their decisions.
“We ask here whether other Nigerians should now arrogate to themselves powers to decide which chemists in the North sell drugs that are destroying our youth, or which business men are making money manufacturing fake drugs and spare parts in the North. Should Northern Governors assume responsibility for expelling persons from particular ethnic groups that are clearly involved in criminal activities, or designing difficult and impossible conditions for others from these groups which will make it impossible for them to operate?” the groups observed.