Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Friday alleged that some Yoruba elders are aiming to raise tensions and create fears among Nigerians in order to cause a crisis involving groups and regions in the country.
“The latest communication by the Yoruba Council of Elders to the United Nations is an example of lamentable desperation of some groups to erode our security and integrity as a country, and it is more regrettable that it is the handiwork of so-called elders who should forfeit all rights to that honour,” NEF said a letter written to the United Nations.
NEF spokesman Hakeem Baba-Ahmed noted that the country was facing imminent threats from persons, who were also lobbying the international community, to create violence in the country.
The forum said certain narratives and threats by some Nigerians and elected officials were raising fears and passions that could make it easy to break more laws of the land and pitch citizens against each other.
“There are efforts to create multiple sources of falsehood in videos and other inflammatory materials in the media clearly targeted at inciting people to act violently against each other,” Baba-Ahmed said.
“Allegations of planned or actual genocide are being made with reckless abandon, and even the international community is being lobbied in futile efforts to sell the fiction that some groups are intent on mass extermination of other groups.
The forum advised President Muhammadu Buhari and governors to consult and explore measures that would lower tensions in the country.
Insisting that the quit notice order given to herdsmen in the southern part of the country was unconstitutional, the elders also advised all governments to identify criminals among the Fulani and subject them to the laws of the land.
” We demand the cessation of threats and attacks by local ethnic defenders on Fulani communities. People who have broken the law by attacking and harassing Fulani for just being Fulani must be brought to book. We encourage all law-abiding herders to stay put and seek protection, and if they cannot be protected, to relocate to safer areas in the country. We urge northern governors to prepare to receive law-abiding Fulani herders who may be compelled to re-locate.
“We urge all northerners to assure Nigerians from other parts of the country that they are safe and welcome to continue to stay in the north. It is not a crime to be member of any ethnic group, and no one has the right to attempt to expel any Nigerian from places where they live lawfully.”