Northern youth under the aegis of the True Northern Youths and Elites on Wednesday disowned the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) saying the the elders were misrepresentng the interest of the entire northern Nigeria.
The youth group in a open letter titled “Stop speaking on our behalf and stop misrepresenting our interest” signed by the National Secretary, Mohammed Hassan Abuja, said the northern leaders and elders were protraying northerners as cowards.
The dissociation comes days after the elders called on Fulanis in the South to return to the North over recent bad blood generated by the proposal and suspension of Ruga settlements, a project the Federal Government said it had proposed to stop the herdsmen crisis in some parts of the country.
Majority of southerners had kicked against the proposal, with many alleging that it was a plan to alter the demographics in the South in favour of the Fulanis.
But the youth, in their statement, said: “We, The TRUE NORTHERN YOUTHS AND ELITES, reject the disappointing and disheartening statement by the northern groups, calling on the Fulani herdsmen back to the north. It shows a sincere sign of weakness and cowardliness. Its absurd and unreasonable. We accept the idea of serving people their own medicine. As long as they occupy our lands we will occupy theirs. Tits for Tats.
“We, the northerners are so disappointed, baffled, irritated and ashamed to call these groups or people as the sole protectors of our northern heritage and interest. Our northern so called leaders are so “Weak” to even retaliate with bare words.
“Why can’t the northern governors and traditional rulers place a heavy tax and embargo on our southern alies that carry-out their business activities and reside in the north?
“For your information my dear “Elders and Leaders”, you cannot achieve a peaceful negotiation when you bring a pen and a paper to the negotiating table while your counterpart brought an RPG or AK-47 to the table. You can only “Fight Fire With Fire”.
The presidency has however advised elders across the country to stop overheating the polity with divisive utterances, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari has enjoined all Nigerians to ignore the recent call by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) to Fulani herders, asking them to leave the southern part of Nigeria.”
In a statement on behalf of the President, the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu questioned the intentions of the NEF and the other so-called leaders in delving into issues with unsolicited, ill-intentioned advice.”They have no one’s authority to make such pronouncements.” he said
But the northern youths took their threats by saying that: “Northerners have tolerated enough selfish, unimaginable, intolerable, and barbaric utterances from their southern counterpart. Most of these sponsored informed and uninformed youths from the south that see it fit to open their mouth and insult north and the northerners at any given time, should be called to order by their elders or we will start retaliating back. For your information Southerners are also living in all parts of the 19 northern states.”
The group accused the south of rejecting any idea that is meant for the development of the north, and would not mind a separation from the south.
The statement said: “Believe you me, Nigeria is a colonial experiment gone wrong. The security situation in the north has highly deteriorated due to the negligence of our selfish, private jet shuttling, dollar and naira collecting governors.
“Any idea or program initiated nationally that will benefit the north is perceived as anti-south agenda, and the full wrath of the southern media houses will be placed on it until they kill that initiative either by using tribal, regional or religious sentiments.
“We really pity our northern comrades who always envisioned a positive out come from this failed experimental union called “NIGERIA”. Most of my so called elites will disagree with me because they are still holding on to the delusion of making it work, for better or worst.
“Stop lying to yourselves and stop lying to us, please take a single dose of reality to clear your vision and get your priority straight. North and South are not one and can never be one even in the next life. We are socially, economically, religiously, culturally and ethnically different.”
But the statement issued by the president warned aganst such statements, saying: “All citizens of Nigeria are free to move and live within any part of the country they please, whether or not they are originally from there.
“In line with our country’s constitution, the government of Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect citizens of Nigeria wherever they find themselves.
“No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether north, south, east or west”.
President Buhari condemned all groups and individuals making divisive statements saying that his administration is “fully devoted to finding a lasting solution to the herder-farmer clashes in different parts of Nigeria- one that would be acceptable to all the parties involved.”
“The polarising role of the Northern Elders Forum and all those other groups dabbling into issues of security to score cheap political points has for long been a sore point in Nigeria’s body polity,” he said, adding: “They should not be allowed to mislead anyone, least of all the Fulani herders.”