The Northern Elders Forum has urged Fulani herdsmen to return to the Northern region if their security could not be guaranteed in their host communities in the southern part of the country.
NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
He said the relocation advice became necessary following the alleged attack on Fulani herders, families and communities in some southern states.
The forum warned that the nation would be treading dangerous grounds if it continued to tolerate demonisation of entire groups over particular types of crimes.
The statement read, “NEF is deeply worried by reports of ejections, under threats and attacks, of Fulani herders, families and communities in some states of the south.
“The forum has been receiving these reports since the night of Sunday, January 31. It has taken the responsible step by drawing authorities’ attention to the dangers, which these attacks represent for all Nigerians.
“We have also advised law-abiding Fulani communities to seek protection where it is available, and have appealed to other Fulani to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands.
“It is necessary to warn people who threaten law-abiding Fulani communities in all parts of Nigeria, but particularly in some parts of the South, to desist. Majority of Fulani are law-abiding and have rights to live lawfully wherever they can find means of subsistence.
“The Fulani will not be ejected from any Nigerian community only based on being Fulani or herding cattle within the limits of laws and regulations. States that seek to limit criminal activities are perfectly entitled to do so, but they must follow due process, and avoid exposing innocent citizens to danger at all cost. The forum demands that the Nigeria Police must live up to its constitutional responsibility to detect crimes and arrest and prosecute criminals, whoever they are.”
The elders appealed to Nigerians to exercise restraint and not play into the hands of people who desire to achieve dubious political goals by pitting citizens against each other.