Following the meeting between the Coalition of Northern Groups d the leader of Northern Elders Forum in Abuja Tuesday, the call has come that Fulani herders across the three other geo-political zones should start heading back north.
And as the herders begin their hejira back home, their host governors in these other regions don’t care a farthing. They have taken their stand.
The call-back seems welcome and necessary as the federal government Ruga Settlement Policy, the only safety measure for the Fulani herdsmen as ethno-religious sentiments flare daily, has failed.
And the latest trigger, which the murder of the Afenifere leader Reuben Fasoranti ‘s daughter provided, has only escalated the crisis.
At the Abuja meeting, NEF’s chairman Prof. Ango Abdullahi expressed concern the Fulani lives have allegedly been put at risk considering the recent actions and utterances of the southern governors.
“We are worried about their well-being. If it is true that their safety can no longer be guaranteed, we rather have them back in areas where their safety is guaranteed,” said Abdullahi.
“The bottom line is that their safety is far more important than their stay there. This is a country we all wish to keep together but not at the expense of other sections.”
The CNGs had earlier cited provocative statements by the Afenifere spokesman Yinka Odumakin, Femi Fani-Kayode, Otunba Gani Adams, IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, and others linking the last Friday murder of the Afenifere daughter to Fulani herdsmen.
However, since the home-call, neither the Nigerian Governors Forum nor the southern governors have made any counter-claim to the ethic twist of the Ruga Policy decision credited to them.
And no official reaction to the imminent exodus of the Fulani herdsmen from the south.
But, one way or the other, many of the governors have revealed their positions–-with the Ruga policy rejection first, and, ultimately, with their silence on the call to flight resulting from the impossibility of the south and Fulani herdsmen living together.
Governor Nyesom Wike has sworn no part of the state will be ceded to the herders.“If they want water for the cattle, they can lay pipes from the Bonny Ocean to the far North for their cattle,: he told founder of Throne-Room Ministries that visited him early in the month
“That is what we can contribute.”
His Oyo counterpart claims he is not aware of the planned settlement fashioned ut as a solution for the crisis.
APC Gov Kayode Fayemi also vowed no part of Ekiti will be ceded to outsider.
None of the six states in the southeast is ready for the initiative.
Edo Gov Godswill Obaseki also madehis stad clear through his media aide.
“Obaseki will not cede their rights and land to anybody, as our programmes as a sovereign state do not run on the back of any external entity,” said Crusoe Osagie in press statement July 2.
The Nigerian Constitution guarantees every citizen freedom to move and live anywhere in the country.
But the spate of violence between farmers and herders, which has even spread to non-agrarian communities, is creating tension that may limit that freedom.
Political analysts say other ethnic groups will soon resort to self defence against the Fulani now seen as perpetrators of most violence across the nation.