The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has said that it is encouraged by the sudden response by President Muhammadu Buhari to the advice for the Fulani herdsmen residing in the South to return home if their safety was no longer assured in the face of flagrant threats and intimidation.
The group in a statement by its spokesman, Abdulazeez Suleiman and made available to LEADERSHIP Friday in Abuja yesterday said they were even more encouraged by the heart-warming attempt made to assure Nigerians of governments determination to provide adequate security to all citizens living in any part of the country as contained in the nation’s constitution.
It said that it was apparent that government’s initial silence throughout the recent weeks when various southern leaders and regional organisations 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.
The group however found 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.
The statement reads in part, “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?
It is astonishing that the death of the daughter of an Afenifere chieftain, in the hands of unknown assailants, painful as it is, should trigger more robust and timely response than that of the large scale and massive killings being witnessed in the above mentioned northern states.
“Finally, CNG wholeheartedly welcomes the assurance given by Mr. President and his government to protect and guarantee the safety of all Nigerians anywhere they are including the threatened herdsmen in the South. We however wish to remind Mr President and the government that Northerners would hold them fully responsible should any one of them fall victim of the consequences of the concerns we raised,” the group said.
The group recalled that its July 11, 2019 generated a lot of reactions but noted that it was in respect to the threats against Fulani herdsmen living in the South by some Southern leaders in which the federal government failed to address.
The group said, “Surprisingly, barely 24 hours after the story was published, two events took place almost simultaneously. Leaders of southern groups such as PANDEF, Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and a certain Middle Belt forum issued a joint statement tending to deny having made inflammatory remarks capable of instigating violence against the Fulani in the South or that the security of the herders in the South was not in danger as to have warranted concern from the North.
We find this hypocritical denial from people who are above 70 years old and ordinarily expected to be respectful leaders of their communities disappointing, and embarrassing.”