Northern Elders, Forum, NEF, has asked the federal and state governments
to escalate measures to halt what it described as the harassment of the
Fulani and their cattle.

It also urged them to de-escalate
inciting rhetorics regarding the now-suspended Ruga Project designed for
the settlement of herders across the country.

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NEF made the call in a statement yesterday by its Deputy Convener, Amb. Yahaya Kwande.

The Forum asked the country to remain sensitive to its rising deficits in security of lives and economic assets.

The
statement read, “Federal and State governments must adopt policies and
positions which address the harassment of Fulani and their cattle,
de-escalation of inciting rhetorics and actions and short and long-term
solutions to the problems which could damage the livestock industry,
worsen community relations and threaten national security.

“The
nation should remain sensitive to its rising deficits insecurity of
lives and economic assets, and must do everything possible not to
escalate tensions and distrust among Nigerians.”

The Forum also
said it had taken note of the diverse positions adduced by groups and
interests from the South and those from Northern Nigeria.

In
particular, NEF said it had taken note of the representations made at a
Press Conference held by the Coalition of Northern Groups on the latest
developments related to the failure to find solutions to the problems
related to management of the livestock assets of Nigerians, particularly
cattle of the Fulani.

While the Forum said it had also taken due
notice of the intense reactions which the statement by the Coalition
generated across the country, it added that it has been contacted by a
broad spectrum of interests and opinions to use its position to calm
nerves and assist in the search for a practical and fair resolution of
the situation.

NEF also acknowledged that the Northern Governors’
Forum Chairman, Simon Lalong, has also made similar overture to its
leadership and a meeting has been fixed for next week.

“In
consideration of the appeals of many well-meaning leaders and Nigerians
including the Forum of Northern Governors, and in the exercise of its
responsibility as the platform of Northern Elders, the NEF advises the
Coalition of Northern Groups to exercise responsible restraint and take
no further action in view of the potentially productive involvement of
Northern governors and other respected Nigerians.

“Most Nigerians
recognize the genuine grounds for raising serious grievances in the
light of provocations and apparent lack of sensitivity to a matter that
affects the North and indeed the rest of Nigeria in a most critical
manner.

“Northern Governors’ concerns and commitment to finding
solutions to a problem which is not being adequately addressed and one
which has the potential to create additional security and economic
problems for the nation is welcome. NEF will engage with the Forum and
the Coalition and any Nigerian who seeks genuine solutions to the
problems being faced by Northern Communities and the livestock industry.

“Finally,
as we urge the northerners to heed the call for restraint made by the
Coalition earlier pending the outcome of the meetings with the Northern
Governors when NEF shall come out with a definite position on the
matter,” NEF added.

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