The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has called on the federal government to recognize and deal with the issue of cattle herding as a national challenge.
The forum also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately meet with all state governors and heads of security and law and order agencies to examine how the current tensions in the country can be de-escalated.
NEF in a statement signed and issued by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, called on the government to adopt policies that will mitigate the problems the crisis poses to the economy, farmers, herders and all communities.
“The forum believes it is time for the federal government to recognize and deal with the issue of cattle herding as a national challenge, and adopt policies that will mitigate the problems it poses to the economy, farmers, herders and all communities.
“Most important, the forum advises President Muhammadu Buhari to meet immediately with all state governors and heads of security and law and order agencies to examine how the current tensions in the country can be de-escalated.
“Events in the South West are assuming national dimensions, and only a national approach will provide short and long term solutions.
“The forum said it is deeply concerned that the country is threatened by irresponsible actions and comments by people with the responsibility to exercise caution and provide constructive leadership.
“The forum notes that governors in the South West are to meet with Fulani organizations tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26th, a day after the expiration of the quit order issued by the governor of Ondo State to Fulani herders to leave a forest reserve.
“The meeting will take place in the context of rising fear among Fulani communities from threats and their experiences in the last few days.
“The forum hopes that the meeting will achieve the objective of assuring Fulani communities living lawfully in the South West that they will be protected, and assure all other citizens in South-West states that they will continue to receive protection of the state from kidnappings and other crimes.”
“The forum is aware of the limitations of all state governors in terms of their capacities to adequately respond to security needs of populations,” the statement added.
NEF said at all cost, Nigerians who break the law should have no cover or immunity, whether they are Fulani or local enforcers or organizations.
“The forum appeals to all Nigerians to exercise great restraint in their comments and actions in these trying times. It appeals to leaders at all levels to contribute to the search for solutions to developing threats which will make all our lives worse,” the statement added.
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