#TrackNigeria: The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has warned that the recent outbursts on the Fulani by former President Olusegun Obasanjo were not isolated coincidences but part of a wider conspiracy against the North, which must not be taken lightly.
A statement signed by Spokesperson of the Coalition, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman Thursday said the remarks were deliberate attempt to test the waters as well as gauge the likely northern responses as the Southwest schemes to take over power in 2023.
“Already Obasanjo and other southern interests that see a united and peaceful North as a major political obstacle, are working on an agenda to emasculate the northern voter strength to pave way for the actualisation of Southwest presidency,” Suleiman said in the statement.
He cautioned that in the unfolding political chess game, it was essential that the North anticipated as well as checkmated the maneuvers of its enemies in all possible and likely scenarios, and obtain ascendency over the forces presented by Obasanjo and his ilks.
“It is no coincidence that Obasanjo and his fellow troubleshooters deliberately refuse to draw distinctions between the Fulani as a race, or cattle herding as an occupation, from criminality whenever they exploit latent grievances accentuated by religious and ethnic cleavages, to cause widespread divisions and distrust in the North.
“It is also no coincidence that it matters little or none to Obasanjo that most Fulani are not cattle herders or that although most cattle herders in Nigeria are Fulani, there are others that are not; or that just because some herdsmen commit crimes does not make all cattle herders criminals.
“They deliberately refuse to acknowledge that the vast majority of the Fulani – including those who are cattle herders – are peaceful everyday people with the same needs, anxieties and hopes as the rest of Nigerians.
“We therefore deem the targeting of the entire Fulani and by extension, Muslims, for vilification, systematic dehumanization, profiling, alienation or any action that will render them object of attack and persecution, not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency and therefore unacceptable.
“We at CNG are quite aware that targeting of any ethnic or religious group and singling it out for any negative action for all intents and purposes, is against both our laws and international law. Such acts are the prelude to genocide and ethnic cleansing and therefore, are actionable under international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as international criminal law.
“We are also familiar with the provisions of the Rome Statute in this respect, as well as the processes and outcomes of the various international tribunals and courts from the Nuremberg Tribunal to the recent tribunals that tried cases related to genocide and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and other situations.
“We therefore give notice to instigators and perpetrators of all hate crimes that the CNG is ready and willing to take matters to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for redress where local remedies could not be provided to the victims of such actions.
“Our forefathers toiled and paid with their lives for a united and prosperous North and people. We must repay them by at least resisting antics of the protégés of those that assassinated them, their foot soldiers from other parts of the South and cronies from the North who are today all over the place fanning the embers of hatred among us.
“At the slightest of pretences, Obasanjo had accused the North for committing every sin under the sun and has seized every opportunity to vilify the North, disparage its leaders, scandalize its institutions and ridicule its traditions and customs.
“He has under the various administrations he led, tried to bring down the North by destroying its institutions, expelling its people from positions of responsibility in government, undermining its economic and social fabrics, and encouraging rampant poverty, social problems and mutual distrust among northern communities.
“It’s time Obasanjo and his ilk realize that the North will no longer remain passive under such deliberate and sustained attacks on its unity, integrity and dignity, and will henceforth be forced to react to every provocation and unwarranted insults.
“Other merchants of hate coming from outside the North to foment trouble and escalate tension among our people should be warned that their actions will not go unnoticed and in the fullness of time, they will be held accountable for their instigation to violence and killings of innocent people, the CNG said