Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai has called out his colleagues in the southern part of the country to disavow the ongoing attacks and massacre on Fulani herders in their states saying the rights of all citizens to live in peace and security wherever they reside or work must be respected.
El-Rufai said criminal actions of insurgents and bandits must not be allowed to tear Nigeria apart adding that: “We should not be seduced into the dangerous passion of blaming innocents, declaring them guilty of the crimes of others, evicting them, killing and destroying their property.”
The governor who bared his through in an online video clip said: “In difficult times, we must uphold the right of everyone to live, with security and safety. The frenzy of ethnic labelling makes solutions difficult and can only guarantee disorder, violence and pain.”
He expressed concern over a video clip circulating on social media which showed the massacre and destruction of properties of Fulani herders in some parts of the country saying it came amidst avoidable rhetoric, frenzied ethnic profiling and unlawful eviction of citizens from their places of domicile.
He said many citizens of Kaduna have reached out to him to confirm the authenticity of the video clips with many allegations that the attacks have the support of leaders of the areas where the attacks occurred. “While I am unable to confirm the authenticity of the video clips, their impact on the peaceful coexistence of our people is a source of concern,” he said.
Governor El-Rufai called on all elected and appointed public leaders across the country to act on their constitutional obligations to protect all citizens, uphold order, and contribute to a climate for peaceful resolution of all issues.
“In Kaduna State, we are learning from decades of unfortunate and needless experiences. We have faced the tragic manifestations of the indigene-settler divide. This has been compounded by criminal activities that often have fatal consequences. But the victims of criminal actions like banditry and kidnapping in our state cut across all ethnic and religious groups.
“We have resisted the attempt to tar all members of any ethnic group for the criminal actions of some of their members. At all times, our government has upheld the right of every citizen to live and pursue legitimate livelihoods wherever they choose,” he said.
He urged governments and security agencies rein in all non-state actors, tackle hateful rhetoric and protect all communities while stressing that those that engage in criminal acts must be arrested and prosecuted without regard to their ethnic or religious persuasion.
El-Rufai reminded Nigerians that his administration had ordered the arrest of persons who issued an unlawful eviction notice to Igbos in 2017 but expressed concern that the “impunity and calculated disregard for a common humanity that prompted such irresponsible rhetoric is sadly at play again.”
“We cannot allow, by inaction or otherwise, the reign of anarchy where fear creates a tragic momentum of violence, blurring the lines between victims and perpetrators and complicating a difficult moment,” he said.