The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), on Friday, said it is not pleased with the involvement of a private citizen in the recent negotiation that ushered in the suspension of a nationwide strike embarked upon by members of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN).
The forum said, although it welcomed the decision of the Federal Government to address a major and prolonged grievance of transporters over multiple taxation and extortion and the decision of the union’s members to suspend their strike, it rejected the government’s idea of delegating its responsibility to private individuals.
- Restore normalcy before rainy season, Buhari charges service chiefs
- Target vulnerable poor with COVID-19 vaccine – FG urged
Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Director, Publicity and Advocacy of the forum, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, did not mention Fani-Kayode’s name but he said the private citizen has been identified as someone supporting threats to the security of northern communities in the Southwest.
“The Forum is disturbed by the visible involvement of a private citizen identified as supporting threats to the security of northern communities in the southwest in the discussions preceding the resolution of the strike, and the mention of a number of people who had been instrumental to creating intense hostility around northerners living in the southwest.
“Indeed, some of the persons mentioned as having been contacted to give assurances to northern traders, herders and transporters have been fingered by the police as being involved in criminal activities against northerners in the southwest,” Baba-Ahmed said.
A former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, had, together with Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, Wednesday, attended a reconciliatory meeting at Kogi governor’s lodge in Abuja where the leadership of food and cattle dealers were met.
Fani-Kayode, while speaking to newsmen after the meeting, appealed to the Federal Government to be committed to addressing the menace of killer Fulani herdsmen in the forests, who have been known for perpetrating all forms of evil including killing, raping and maiming of Nigerians.
He added: “I want to appeal to the Federal Government and all concerned to join hands and stop the criminals that attack our people.
“It is not our way of life and thank you for not visiting our wrath on innocent people, we will not tolerate the killings of Hausa-Fulani people, we will not accept it.”
But NEF spokesman said: “The Forum rejects the idea that federal government or its agents could encourage the outsourcing of its duty and responsibility to protect citizens to individuals who are neck-deep in encouraging violence and corruption of communal co-existence.
“The Forum would rather believe that the involvement of these people was contrived to render its purported intervention valueless.
“In any case, the involvement of private citizens who represent existential threats to citizens in an exercise designed to give them assurances that they could be safe is abhorrent and unacceptable.
“The Forum recognizes the pivotal role of Governors in the SouthWest as well as other respected leaders of communities, working with the federal government, to improve the sense of security of all communities.
“Governors, in particular, are leaders with constitutional responsibilities to protect all citizens, and the forum calls upon them to exercise those responsibilities fairly and diligently.”