Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The Northern Governors’ Forum has called for calm following reports that herdsmen are being attacked in some parts of the country, leading to loss of lives and property.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong, in a statement yesterday, recalled that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), led by its Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had met with stakeholders in Akure, the Ondo State capital, to calm the tension and to work for an amicable resolution of the issues.
Lalong said: “While such intervention was celebrated as a success to be sustained through further engagement between herdsmen and representatives of affected communities, emerging reports of attacks on herders and the gradual introduction of ethnic sentiments in the conflict is disturbing and should immediately be nipped in the bud before it gets out of hand.
“While the Northern Governors Forum concedes to the rights of Nigerians to reside wherever they so desire without any molestation or discrimination, it also emphasises that criminal elements should not be used to tar any particular ethnic group for any crime as that will portend danger to peaceful coexistence and national unity.
“Rather, such criminal elements should be exposed, isolated and made to face the law of the land without prejudice to their ethnic backgrounds as the motives or criminal actions cannot be said to be the position of their ethnic group.”
Lalong reiterated the forum’s call for calm, and cautions Nigerians, particularly those in the affected areas who might have been aggrieved or targeted, to exercise restraint.
He added that Nigeria is going through a lot and escalating such tensions will not resolve any grievances but rather aggravate the situation to levels that could threaten national security.
Lalong also urged leaders across political, ethnic, religious and community lines to avoid utterances and actions that could fan the embers of distrust, hate, violence and retaliation.
“Security agencies must equally be firm and rise up to the occasion by protecting all law-abiding citizens against a threat to their lives and property irrespective of their ethnic or other affiliations. They should also send clear and unambiguous message to those threatening the peace that they will act decisively to stop them from plunging the nation to anarchy,” he stated.