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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

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

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.

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.

"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.

"We condemn with all our might the actions of those who perpetrate criminal acts anywhere in Nigeria and strongly denounce those who instigate others to commit acts of violence and lawlessness.

"We emphatically repudiate the vilification of one ethnic and religious group or the other for whatever reason or justification. In this light, we deem the targeting of the entire Fulani and by extension, Muslims, for vilification, systematic dehumanization, profiling, alienation or any action that will render them object of attack and persecution, not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency and therefore 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.

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