The Northern Governors Forum (NEF) has condemned the alleged incessant attacks on innocent Fulani herders in the Southern part of Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Northern Governor Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, gave the condemnation in a statement on Thursday.
He also called for the stoppage of attacks on law-abiding herdsmen, adding that innocent herders should not be vilified or punished for the crimes of alleged criminal herders.
The governor, however, asked governors in South-East, South-West, and South-South states to hand those found wanting to the law enforcement agencies.
He said the Northern Governors Forum concedes to the rights of Nigerians to reside wherever they so desire without any molestation or discrimination.
Lalong opined that the country is already tensed, and aggravating the situation to levels that could threaten national security.
“The Northern Governors Forum concedes to the rights of Nigerians to reside wherever they so desire without any molestation or discrimination.
“The 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.
“In the face of the recent worrisome developments, therefore, the Northern Governors Forum calls for calm and cautions Nigerians particularly those in the affected areas who might have been aggrieved or targeted to exercise restraint,” the statement said.
Lalong warned against utterances and actions that would further fan the embers of distrust, hate, violence, and retaliation in the country.
He called on leaders across political, ethnic, religious, and community lines not to escalate the situation and cause chaos.
The NGF Forum equally asked security agencies to arrest those who want to take the laws into their hands and trample on the rights of those who want to live and pursue their legitimate business in whatever place they choose to reside.
“Security agencies must also be firm and rise to the occasion by protecting all law-abiding citizens against the threat to their lives and properties irrespective of their ethnic or other affiliations.
“They should also send a clear and unambiguous message to those threatening the peace that they will act decisively to stop them from plunging the nation to anarchy.
“The Northern Governors Forum further assures Nigerians of all ethnic, religious and political persuasions of their constitutional rights to pursue their legitimate businesses wherever they choose within the region and appeal to the people to resist any attempt to lure them into any activity that can threaten the peace and tranquillity of the region and the nation at large,” the statement added.