The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately convey a meeting between governors and security operatives to de-escalate rising tension in the country.
The group, which reacted to the impasse between some states in the South- West and Fulani herders in the area, however, described the quit notice given to the herdsmen in Ondo forest reserves as an irresponsible action by those expected to provide leadership to the people.
According to the northern elders, an urgent meeting between the president, governors and heads of the various security agencies has become inevitable because events in the South-West are assuming national dimension and only a national approach will provide short and long term solutions.
They also appealed to all Nigerians to exercise great restraint in their comments and actions in these trying times and appealed to leaders at all levels to contribute to the search for solutions to developing threats.
A statement by NEF signed by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, also posited that even though they appreciate the security challenges in the country, Amotekun will not solve the problem of insecurity in the South- West.
The group said having “closely followed developments involving Fulani communities, host communities and governments in Oyo and Ondo states as well as reactions across the entire country, it is deeply concerned that the country is threatened by irresponsible actions and comments by people with responsibility to exercise caution and provide constructive leadership.”
According to NEF, “the Forum is aware of the limitations of all state governors in terms of their capacities to adequately respond to security needs of population. The resort to regional outfits like Amotekun and other selfappointed guardians of security of communities are not solutions to these limitations.
“In the last few days, the nation has noticed the problems with these outfits and actions of locals who masquerade as defenders of ethnic inter- ests. 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 believes it is time for the Federal Government to recognise 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 importantly, 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 deescalated.
Events in the South-West are assuming national dimensions and only a national approach will provide short and long term solutions.
“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.”