Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday told Fulani herders to ignore the recent instruction from the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) asking them to leave the southern part of Nigeria and return to the North.
In a statement, presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said all Nigerians reserved the right to live in any part of the country adding that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect them wherever they are.
According to him, no person has any right to order anyone or group out of any part of the country.
“All citizens of Nigeria are free to move and live within any part of the country they please, whether or not they are originally from there.
“In line with our country’s constitution, the government of Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect citizens of Nigeria wherever they find themselves.
“No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether north, south, east or west,” the President said.
The statement questioned the rationale behind the instruction, describing it as unsolicited and ill-intentioned, insisting that the group had no power to issue such order.
It accused the group of dabbling into security matters to score cheap political points and urged Nigerians not to allow the elders to mislead them, saying the government is committed to finding lasting solutions to the crisis.
“They have no one’s authority to make such pronouncements.
“The polarising role of the Northern Elders Forum and all those other groups dabbling into issues of security to score cheap political points has for long been a sore point in Nigeria’s body polity.
“They should not be allowed to mislead anyone, least of all the Fulani herders.
“The Buhari administration is fully devoted to finding a lasting solution to the herder-farmer clashes in different parts of Nigeria – one that would be acceptable to all the parties involved.”