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Farmers-herdsmen clash is being used to destroy our region - Northern group

Farmers-herdsmen clash is being used to destroy our region - Northern group

- A northern coalition group has asked the federal government to declare state of emergency in four states

- The group said the clash was being used to destabilise the north

- It said the north has not benefited from the Buhari administration

The Coalition of Northern Groups has sent a message to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to declare a state of emergency in Taraba, Kaduna, Benue and Zamfara over the herdsmen-farmers clash.

The Nation reports that Abdulazeez Suleiman who is the spokesperson of the group gave this position on Tuesday, February 13.

He claimed the herdsmen-farmers clash was being used to exploit religious and ethnic differences in the north in order to destabilise the region.

READ ALSO: Former head of state Abdulsalam Abubakar visits Buhari in Aso Rock (video)

The group called on the federal government to appoint sole administrators to run the four states as political leaders of the states have failed to restore peace.

The group stated: "We nevertheless believe that the current spate of killings and unrests are not isolated incidents but are linked to a grand design to destabilize the North and bring her people to their knees by dividing them along artificial lines through exploiting ethnic and religious differences.

“For too long, enemies of the North, both foreign and local have worked strenuously to ensure that the region remains backward, divided, weak, confused and bewildered by myriads of challenges and problems.

“In the pursuit of this occasional misunderstandings dating back more than five centuries which were ordinarily resolved at the community level, are today manipulated and turned into avenues for the venting of pent-up tribal and religious jealousies resulting in heavy loss of lives and valuable resources.

“The escalation of hitherto existing challenges like the herdsmen and farmers clashes which have sporadically and intermittently been going on for time immemorial, is one aspects of the plan to destabilize the North and decapitate it through exploiting internal weaknesses and cleavages.

“It is no longer in doubt that the general and pervasive insecurity currently being experienced across the Northern region are part of a mega but clandestine plot spanning several years."

The group condemned the perpetrators of the crime and those instigating others to carry out acts of violence and lawlessness.

It also faulted the profiling of herdsmen as Fulanis, describing it as immoral and illegal, and abhorrent, adding that it was unacceptable.

“We at CNG are quite aware that targeting of any ethnic or religious group and singling it out for any negative action for all intents and purposes, is against both our laws and international law. Such acts are the prelude to genocide and ethnic cleansing and therefore, are actionable under international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as international criminal law.

“We see the reluctance and lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government to act promptly at the initial stages of the conflicts as the primary factor responsible for the deterioration of the situation.

“We call on the Federal Government to declare state of emergency in the front line states of Taraba, Kaduna, Benue and Zamfara, suspend the current political structures in these states and replace them with sole administrators until conditions improve.

“We call on the federal government to take immediate steps to disband all militias and armed groups in Nigeria by resort to the use of force if needs be, to ensure that no group has the capacity to challenge the State in its prerogative to maintain law and order, and protect citizens’ lives and properties.

“With regards to the crises in the North, government should take further steps to ensure that both farmers and herdsmen are given adequate protection by state agencies.

“We ask that the Presidency, Northern Federal Legislators and Northern Governors show more zeal and effort at protecting the lives and property of pastoral communities everywhere, and ensuring their right to free movement is not impeded by any legislation or obstacle imposed by a state or a community. The days of being politically correct are over.

“The Federal and State Governments in the North must deal decisively with the threat of drug and substance abuse across Nigeria and in the North in particular. We reiterate that this trend is fueled to a large extent by outside interests that aim to dislocate the social cohesion of the North, and create a class of aimless and dehumanized individuals who will forever remain a burden on the society.

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“The Federal Government should proscribe all religious groups, political parties or ethnic and tribal organizations that make the habit of undermining Nigeria’s peace, security, and peaceful coexistence through unguarded utterances and deliberate actions aimed at fomenting unrest and engendering inter-religious and inter-communal conflicts.

"Individuals associated with such groups or organizations that incite others to violations must be decisively dealt with. In that regard, we remind the government of our earlier patriotic advice for the enactment of appropriate laws to deal with all manifestations of hate speech from any quarter," the group added.

Meanwhile, pandemonium on Monday, February 12, reportedly struck Itigi which is the hometown of Senator Liyel Imoke, former governor of Cross River state following a clash between the youths of the community and herdsmen.

Vanguard reports that an All Progressives Congress councillorship aspirant was shot dead.

An eyewitness Jospeh Ugbor said the herdsmen who claimed that one of their cows was killed by youths in the area, confronted the youths which resulted in an altercation leading to the killing of the councillorship aspirant.

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