By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has called on Federal and State governments to adopt policies and positions that could address the harassment of the Fulani and their cattle as well as de-escalate inciting rhetorics.
The Forum also want the governments to adopt actions and short and long-term solutions to the problems which could damage the livestock industry, worsen community relations and threaten national security.
“The Northern Elders Forum has followed with keen interest the raging controversy since the federal government hinted at moves to introduce a certain Ruga scheme.
‘NEF has taken note of the steps taken by the federal government as well as diverse positions adduced by groups and interests from the South and those from Northern Nigeria.
“In particular, NEF has taken note of the representations made at a Press Conference held by the Coalition of Northern Groups on the latest developments in the worrying failure to find solutions to the problems related to management of the livestock assets of Nigerians, particularly cattle of the Fulani.
“The Forum has also taken due notice of the intense reactions which the statement by the Coalition generated across the country,” Kwande stated.
According to NEF, 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.
“Interestingly, NEF also has recieved the decent and statesmanlike reaction of the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State Governor, Samuel Bako Lalong in which he disclosed the Forum’s move to reach out to stakeholders in the matter including the northern youths represented by CNG.
“NEF also acknowledges that the Northern Governors’ Forum Chairman 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 responsibilty as the platform of Nothern Elders, the NEF advises:
a) The Coalition of Northern Groups exercises responsible restraint and takes no further action in view of the potentially productive involvement of Northern governments 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;
b) Northern Governors’ concerns and commitment to find 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 Fulani and the livestock industry;
c) 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.
d) The nation should remain sensitive to its rising deficits in security of lives and economic assets, and must do everything possible not to escalate tensions and distrust among Nigerians.
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.