The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has asked herdsmen to leave the southern part of the country if their safety is no longer guaranteed.
Speaking off the back of a meeting with the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNGs), Prof Ango Abdullahi, chairman of the forum, said there was a move by some “trouble elements” to harm herdsmen in the southern part of the country.
Abdullahi appealed to security agencies to pay attention to what is happening to herdsmen “hour-to-hour, day-to-day basis”.
“We have heard in the few hours ago that some violence had already started to manifest in some sections of the country against the herdsmen, who for all know that would affect peaceful coexistence in the communities where they have lived for many years,” Abdullahi said.
“Now, certainly, we are worried about their safety, like we are worried about the safety of every Nigerian who decided to live wherever they want to.
“But then, if there is no certainty that their safety is guaranteed by the authorities that are immediately around them or by the authorities that has responsibility for the overall security of all Nigerians wherever they reside, we are certainly worried about their well-being.
“If it is indeed true that their safety is not guaranteed in the places where they are residing, we would rather have them back into areas where there safety is guaranteed, and they should be coming back as much as possible to the north.”
He said the forum is making efforts to ensure that everything must be done to avoid escalation of violence that will lead to the breakdown of law and order in the country.
The chairman also urged the federal government to set up judicial panel of inquiry to determine the worth of properties lost by both herdsmen and farmers, with provision for compensation to each of the “warring parties”.
Earlier, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman , spokesperson of CNGs, had alleged that southern governors had on July 9 jointly agreed to stop the movement of herdsmen and cattle in all southern states.
Sulaiman said the situation was worsened “after a section of the southern leadership” started blaming the death of the daughter of Reubem Fashoranti, leader of Afenifere, on herdsmen and “threatened reprisals on northerners”.