The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Tuesday said that they will no longer tolerate further attacks on members of the Northern community in the Southern part of the country.
The Chairman, NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi made the declaration in Port Harcourt on Tuesday during a town hall meeting with members of the Northern community in Rivers State.
While noting that the forum was in the state to commiserate with Northerners who suffered losses during the EndSARS protest, he said it was not clear that the attacks against Northerners were carried out by some group from the southeast part of the country, saying Northerners suffered huge losses in terms of lives and property.
“We came because we saw no reason innocent residents where ever they are irrespective of where they come from who are not participating in the protest will be subjected to violence. They (Northerners) suffered enormous violence and loss of lives and assets of various magnitude.
“What was surprising to us was that those that perpetrated the violence against northerners are the same people who are crying more and calling for compensation other than those, who suffered the consequences.
“We take particular delight when we talked with the governor (Chief Nyesom Wike) of the state. We were told by residents of Rivers State that the governor was particularly interested in protecting them and their rights as he swore in his oath of office. It s now becoming clear that most of the violence that is being meted out to the northerners in various parts of the South came from people from the South-Eastern States, people with some names.
“We are not sure what name really they want to keep. They come with different brands, they use this name (making a veil reference to the disbursement Indigenous People of Biafra) to perpetrated criminality in different parts of the country. For years this particular incident has been with us for some time.
“It is up to the authorities to assure all of us that this must end. This must stop. I think the north will no longer allow this red line to be crossed. It is because people get away with criminal behaviour without sanctions and punishment that is why they keep recircling these irresponsible behaviours.
“Therefore, as we leave the South-South, we will be heading for the South-East. We will be speaking with the leadership there, especially the governors, to remind them of their responsibility to protect residents irrespective of where they come from in their areas of responsibility.
“Failure to do so, especially, on this continuous bases, it will be difficult for all of us who have been restraining our various communities, especially, our youths to protect others when their brethren are being killed and maimed in other parts of the country,” he stated.
In his remark, Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said the
protection of every citizen irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, or place of residence were key to the peace and security of the country.
“We have drawn attention to the dangers of attacking people purely based on their ethnicity or their faith or where they live. There is no stranger in Nigeria.
“Our people have the right to be in the South-South. They have the right to live anywhere they want because the constitution protects them and guarantees their right to be where they are. And we told our people to stay put. Don’t live where you are.
“We appeal to those with responsibility continue to protect members of our Northern community, the same way that we protect members of the Southern communities in the North. This is the only way this country will continue to live in peace and security,” Baba Ahmed said.
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