The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) says it is time all Fulani herdsmen living in the south of Nigeria returned to their ancestral home in the north if their lives and properties cannot be protected by the government.

The farmers-herders violent conflicts among other issues have continued to polarize the two parts of Africa's most populous country, especially now with a Fulani man, President Muhammadu Buhari, ruling Nigeria.

The northern elders said their kinsmen should immediately vacate the south if their safety and security could no longer be guaranteed in the region.

Addressing a joint press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the chairman of NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said the forum would continue to take up issues relating to the security and safety of northerners in southern Nigeria.

“I will like to take particular note of the last paragraph of your presentation, especially with what we have heard in the last few hours that some violence had already started to manifest in some sections of the country against the herdsmen, who for all known reasons have been in peaceful co-existence in the communities where they have lived for many years. 

“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," he stated.

He added, “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 have the responsibility for the overall security of all Nigerians wherever they reside, we are certainly worried about their well-being and I think particular attention should be paid to what is happening on hour-to-hour, day-to-day basis. 

“And 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 their safety is guaranteed, and this is coming back as much as possible to the north. 

“Those who are residents there should keep us informed and those of us who are monitoring from here should also keep ourselves informed about what is happening."

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