The Northern Elders Forum has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the attack on Fulani herders in some states in the South East and South West.
The NEF made the appeal in a statement by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, on Tuesday.
It warned against the profiling of Fulani as terrorists and kidnappers, explaining that not all of them indulge in such act.
The statement said: “Northern Elders Forum (NEF) is deeply worried by reports of ejections under threats and attacks on Fulani herders, families and communities in some states of the South.
“The Forum has been receiving these reports since the night of Sunday, January 31, and had taken the responsible step by drawing the attention of authorities to the dangers which these attacks represent for all Nigerians.
“We have also advised law-abiding Fulani communities to seek protection where it is available, and have appealed to other Fulani to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands.
“It is necessary to warn people who threaten law-abiding Fulani communities in all parts of Nigeria, but, particularly, in some parts of the South, to desist.
“The vast majority of Fulani are law-abiding and have rights to live lawfully wherever they can find means of subsistence.
“Like all Nigerians who can be found in every inch of Nigeria, the rights of the Fulani will not be abridged by criminals hiding behind ethnic interests to exterminate them.
“Citizens and groups who play the role of police and other law-enforcement agencies are committing crimes, and they must be stopped by leaders who are sworn to protect the law and security of all Nigerians.
“The Forum reminds the nation that there are criminals in all ethnic groups, and the nation will be treading dangerous grounds if it continues to tolerate the demonisation of entire groups over particular types of crimes.
“The Forum calls on President Muhammadu Buhari and State governors to take immediate and decisive steps to protect law-abiding members of Fulani communities from killers and criminals who apparently believe that Fulani have no rights in Nigeria.
“It demands the immediate arrest and prosecution of persons who are attacking Fulani and setting the country on a very dangerous path.
“The Forum repeats its earlier position that the Fulani will not be ejected from any Nigerian community only on the basis of being Fulani or herding cattle within the limits of laws and regulations.
“States which seek to limit criminal activities are perfectly entitled to do so, but they must follow due process and avoid exposing innocent citizens to danger at all costs.
“The Forum demands that the Nigeria Police must live up to its constitutional responsibility to detect crimes and arrest and prosecute criminals, whoever they are…”