By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to Fulani herdsemen to ignore the recent call by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), urging them to leave Southern Nigeria, has been described as apt and timely.
President Buhari, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said, “All citizens of Nigeria are free to move a and live within any part of the country they please, whether or not they are originally from there.
“In line with our constitution the government of Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect citizens of Nigeria wherever they find themselves.”
In their reaction to the President to what many described as the ongoing grandstanding between regional leaders over the fate of the Fulani herders outside the North, they stressed the need for security to all categories of Nigerians residing anywhere in the country.
They described as timely as well as a victory for the northern ellders and youth groups that agitated for such assurance.
In Kaduna, a cross section of residents described the move the closest step taken by the present administration to prove that it listens to calls by its citizens.
Alhaji Kabir Boga, a resident of Unguwar Sarki, Kaduna, said,
“The Northern population has agitated over the safety of the Fulani living in other parts of the country who might not necessarily be involved in commission of any crime especially with reports of salient and latent threats of assaulting them coming from some leaders of southern communities.”
Boga said that President Buhari deserves commendation for his timely intervention and for harkening to the people’s agitation expressed in the several correspondences by the northern ellders group under Professor Ango and the youth groups coalition.
He said, “By assuring every Nigerian including the estranged Fulani of governments readiness to uphold their rights to live in any part of Nigeria without the fear of molestation, Buhari has shown that he is a listening president contrary to the pervading suspicion that he had abandoned to their fate by his earlier silence.”
Another respondent, Musa Zubair of Tudun Nupawa, Kaduna, said both government and the Professor Ango led group deserve commendation because the Fulani and the North were under threat when Buhari was silent as the threats were mounting from southern leaders especially after the killing of the daughter of Chief Fasoranti.
“Our people in the South can now feel free to remain in the South with the assurance of security from government. Otherwise with those threats, no northerner would feel safe to stay in the South if government had not spoken,” he said.
He hailed the foresight displayed by elders of the north and youth groups in insisting for this type of safety guarantee for northerners and urged the presidency to remain resolute on this position so that no ethnic group in the country should be threatened.
“The elders should complete their good work by monitoring to ensure that our people are safe. At least that is what elders are supposed to do and not just stay quiet when their people face problems,” Zubair observed.