From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has called for the safe evacuation of herdsmen and their cattle assets from southern Nigeria back to north to avoid unnecessary attacks and hostilities.
The call follows the decision by governors of southern states to put an end to open grazing and other disruptive activities of herdsmen which has resulted in conflict between the herders and farmers.
CNG spokesman Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in a statement released in Abuja, on Tuesday, noted that only 10 per cent of the Fulani herdsmen live and conduct their business in the South.
‘With the incessant show of animosity against the pastoral communities by the people of the South and their leaders, it has become a matter of urgent necessity for the federal government to take steps to evacuate the remaining 10 per cent of herders currently in the south back to North, he said.
With the onset of the fresh systematic vilification of the herdsmen at official level, it is important to evacuate them peacefully since apparently their security is not being guaranteed in their host communities in the southern part of the country.’
He said that a study has shown that, with all the ‘overhyped hatred’ for the pastoral communities by the South and their leaders, only ten percent of herders live in the entire south which can conveniently be accommodated in the North.
CNG suggested that northern governors commence preparation to receive the returning Fulani communities and their livestock assets by identifying suitable grazing lands for them and making sufficient allowance for farmers at the same time.
The group warned that Nigeria would be treading on dangerous grounds if it continued to tolerate demonisation of entire groups over particular types of crimes which Asaba Declaration by the 17 southern governors seeks to do
‘We call on President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to act now, protect law-abiding members of Fulani communities from falling trap set by the aggressive policy of the southern governors who apparently believe that Fulani have no rights in Nigeria,’ Suleiman suggested.