Amid the eviction notice issued to Fulani herders in some southern states, the Northern Elders Forum has asked Nigerians to exercise restraint.
NEF in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by its spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, described reports of eviction and attacks on some Fulani communities as deeply worrying.
“Northern Elders Forum is deeply worried by reports of ejections under threats and attacks on Fulani herders, families and communities in some states of the South,” he said.
“The Forum has been receiving these reports 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.
“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.”
While warning Nigerians who threaten the Fulani communities in all parts of the country, Baba-Ahmed said a vast majority of Fulani are law-abiding and have rights to live lawfully wherever they can find means of subsistence.
According to the northern elders, like all Nigerians who can be found in other parts of the country, the rights of the Fulani will not be abridged by criminals hiding behind ethnic interests to exterminate them.
Baba-Ahmed called on President Muhammadu Buhari and governors to “take immediate and decisive steps to protect law-abiding members of Fulani communities from killers and criminals who apparently believe that Fulani have no rights in Nigeria.”
He also demanded “the immediate arrest and prosecution of persons who are attacking Fulani and setting the country on a very dangerous path,” vowing that “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.”