Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has replied President Muhammadu Buhari’s counter-directive for Fulani herdsmen and northerners to leave the South, with a warning that he would be be held responsible if any northerner is victim of harassment or attack in any southern part of the country.
CNG and Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had earlier advised Fulani herdsmen to relocate to the North until the controversial Ruga policy is finalised.
Yesterday, the president told the herders to disregard the directive, and stressed that every Nigerian has the right to live in any part of the country.
Reacting to the presidential counter directive in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Abdu-Azeez Sulaiman, yesterday, the group reminded the president that northerners would hold them fully responsible should any one of them fall victim of the consequences of the concerns we raised.
“We are even more encouraged by the heart-warming attempt made to assure Nigerians of government’s determination to provide adequate security to all citizens living in any part of the country as contained in the nation’s constitution.
“It is apparent that government’s initial silence throughout the recent weeks when various southern leaders and regional organizations were busy issuing incendiary threats and vituperations against the Fulani and northerners living in the South smacked of discriminatory application of this important constitutional provision.
“We, however, find it even more inexplicable and disturbing that government kept mute and allowed this errant behaviour from some southern leaders and groups only for it to find its voice when threatened northerners were advised to consider returning home to safety.
“We are, thus, compelled to wonder what happened to the constitutional safeguard available for northerners when the government they played a key role in ushering abandoned them to the mercy of cold-blooded killers without corresponding concern or care.
“Should we assume that the hundreds of people being displaced, despoiled and depopulated in Katsina, Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and other parts of the North are not deserving of protection and support?”