The Coalition of Northern Organisation (CON), a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO )has supported Governor Bala Mohammed over his comments that Fulani herdsmen need to carry arms to defend themselves from banditry, kidnapping, and cattle rustling.
Speaking in Kaduna on Saturday, Convener of CON, Malam Idris Umar Goga, condemned the recent quit notice reportedly issued to Fulani herders in some Southwest states declaring it as illegal and unconstitutional, while calling for probe into recent killing of Hausa in Shasha, Oyo state and adequate compensation for those who lost their lives, property and the injured.
“The Coalition of Northern Organisation categorically declares our support for the governor. To us, the governor never anywhere in his speech voiced support for criminal herders in any form whatsoever. Rather, he spoke against ethnic profiling of the Fulani herders as a bunch of criminals.
“It is a known fact that as there are good people among all tribes in Nigeria today, so there are bad people. No tribe has the monopoly of being made up solely of good people or bad people. It is not only wrong to say all Fulani herders are bad but also unjust to profile them as criminals.
“Governor Bala Mohammed, Kauran Bauchi, equally spoke against the backdrop of threats of eviction and indeed attempts being made in some states, particularly in the South-West, against Fulani herdsmen. Again, the governor has our support in this regard. Every Nigerian has the right to stay freely in any part of the nation. This is guaranteed in Section 41 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The Section clearly states: “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit there from.
“Giving the above constitutional provision, it is manifestly wrong for anyone to prevent any Nigerians, irrespective of their tribal and religious affiliations, from move and staying in any part they so desire to stay in Nigeria.
“It is our strong belief that any threats and or attempts to expel Fulani herders from any part of Nigeria are an attempt not only to subvert the Constitution but also fanning the ember of disunity, division and disintegration of Nigeria. Rather than making Bala Mohammed a scapegoat, we urge those criticizing him on the patriotic speech he made to watch their utterances in order not to escalate the already tensed atmosphere in Nigeria today.
“The governor is a true patriot, who love and commitment to a One Nigeria is not in doubt. We must remind Nigerians and indeed the entire world that Governor Bala Mohammed took personal and political risks in 2010 to move the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ on the floor of the Senate, which led to the emergence of the then Vice President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as the acting President and eventually President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“No one among his critics could say they are more patriotic than Governor Mohammed. We strongly advise those behind the recent mounting tension in the country to immediate desist from doing that. Some governors in the South and Benue state trying hard to expel Fulani herdsmen and restrict their movement contrary to the provisions of the Constitution which they swore to uphold must be told that they too have their people in the North here.
“We Northerners are peace-loving people and very accommodating as well. This explains why there are many Southerners up North, doing their businesses here without any harassment or threats of evacuation. This should serve as a big lesson for those in the South threatening our people.
“We, therefore, call on Southern states government to do everything possible toguarantee the safety of Northerners in their domains. It is in view of this that we condemn in the strongest terms the recent attack on Hausa people in Shasha area of Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo state. The attack leading to death of Hausa people ought to have been nipped in bud if the state government had been proactive enough.
“We call on the Oyo state government to ensure that Hausa victims of the crisis are adequately compensated, while families of those who lost their lives in the clash should equally be compensated, while the perpetrators should be brought to book to serve as a deterrent for others,” Idris Goga said.