The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said the Nigerian government should not tag the Fulani people in the country as terrorists based on a recent court order.

NEF said this in reaction to the resolve of the President Muhammadu Buhari government to designate bandits who are mostly Fulani as terrorists.

In a statement issued by the Director, Publicity, and Advocacy of NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the NEF also spoke on that the planned increase of fuel price noting that it would compound the already desperate condition of living of most Nigerians.

This is just as the forum drew the attention of the government to the hardship under which the vast majority of Nigerians lived.

NEF said, “The Forum noted a judicial decision to label bandits and kidnappers as terrorists and recommends greater clarity in terms of the targets of this development.

“In any event, the Forum cautions against profiling and targeting all Fulani as terrorists. Millions of law-abiding Fulani exist who should be encouraged to stay on the side of the law, while those who have chosen to continue on the path of criminality should feel the full weight of the law,” the statement noted.

“The forum invites the attention to the hardship under which the vast majority of the population lives. Increasing poverty levels and widespread insecurity demand that leaders should exercise extreme caution in taking economic and security-related decisions.

“Increase in the price of fuel, in particular, will compound the already desperate condition of living of most Nigerians. It is important that decisions on this matter include considerations of the interests of the national economy, welfare of the citizen, and reactions of a hard-pressed citizenry.”

Speaking on the call by Igbo elders on the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, the Northern Elders said there is no safe, constructive, or informed justification for granting the request.

“Northern Elders Forum has carefully studied the request of Igbo elders for President Muhammadu Buhari to terminate the trial of Nnamdi Kanu and release him unconditionally.

“It has also noted President Buhari’s response which both raised very weighty issues related to the request, and his commitment to consider it.

“The Forum notes that there are no safe, constructive or informed grounds for granting the request, and advises that President Buhari will do serious injury to a country already threatened by multiple challenges to its security and territorial integrity if he delays announcing the only responsible response, which is that the judicial process in the case of Kanu must be allowed to run its course.”

The Forum also advised that the National census planned for 2022 should be postponed until after the 2023 elections.

“The integrity and success of a sensitive and vital activity such as this will be compromised by destabilised and threatened communities and proximity to another sensitive activity such as general elections,” NEF added.

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