The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has warned against the demonization of law-abiding Fulani in the southern part of the country.
The forum on Tuesday expressed concerns over the ejection notices issued to Fulani herders, noting that the trend is setting the country on a dangerous path.
Sunday Adeyemo, a youth leader better known as Sunday Igboho, recently issued an ultimatum to Fulani herders in Ibarapa local government area of Oyo state.
Following up on the ultimatum, he visited Ogun state on Monday, vowing to “flush out” killer herdsmen.
Reacting to the development, the northern elders called on President Muhammadu Buhari and other security agencies to wade into the matter.
“The forum has been receiving reports of attacks on Fulani communities in the south, since the night of Sunday, January 31, and had taken the responsible step by drawing the attention of authorities to the dangers which these attacks represent for all Nigerians,” Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s director of publicity and advocacy, said in a statement.
“NEF is deeply worried by reports of ejections and attacks on Fulani herders and communities in some states of the South.
“The forum demands the immediate arrest and prosecution of persons who are attacking Fulani and setting the country on a very dangerous path.
“The Fulani will not be ejected from any Nigerian community only on the basis of being Fulani or herding cattle within the limits of laws and regulations.
“States which 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 called on northern governors to be prepared to receive the Fulani communities if they are forcefully ejected from the south.
“If communities in parts of the country insist that the lawful Fulani is unwelcome and has no right to their security, then the Forum will advise them to relocate to the North,” the statement read.
“Northern governors should move urgently to prepare to receive Fulani communities being forcefully ejected.”
The forum appealed to Nigerians to “exercise restraint” and not to play into the hands of “people who desire to achieve dubious political goals by pitching citizens against each other”.