The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said that no Nigerian should be threatened or ordered to leave any part of the country.
NEF said the ongoing vacation threat from all quarters is instigated by opportunistic politicians geared towards the 2023 general election.
In a statement signed by the Director, Publicity and Advocacy of NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Forum also noted that those provocative comments are attempts to hurt and weaken the North by making it the culprit behind all manner of grievances, real or contrived.
NEF said the country has never been so threatened by a combination of weak and ineffective governance and a determined effort from many quarters to capitalize on this weakness to attack the foundations which give all citizens and communities some comfort that we are not headed for almost certain, irretrievable disaster.
“No Nigerian should be threatened or ordered to leave any part of the country because it pleases other Nigerians that he does so. Elected leaders must rise to their responsibilities of protecting citizens and their properties.
“At the most minimal level, attacks on Fulani communities who live peacefully with communities in the South must stop.
“It understands that many of the provocations and threats are directly related to manoeuvres for 2023, as well as attempts to hurt and weaken the North by making it the culprit behind all manner of grievances, real or contrived.
“People who believe they can intimidate or threaten the North into submitting to their demands are grossly mistaken.
“The North also wants a Nigeria which addresses at least a minimum of its requirements, and these are many.
“Like all other Nigerians, it believes this country must meet particular and general interests, and no group’s interest is superior to the other’s.
“There is a long way to go before 2023. Our democratic process must not be made hostage to dangerous and shortsighted politics.
“There are politicians who think weakening the country is their best guarantee for achieving their goals. Groups which are floating irredentist agendas to blackmail others do not impress the North,” the statement said.
NEF further stated that it appears that many groups and persons who have public standing, political adventurers and upstarts believe that it is open season to intensify attacks on the foundations of the nation’s co-existence through acts that provoke, frighten or otherwise cast doubts over the capacities of those who have sworn to protect the nation and citizens.
“These groups’ activities suggest that they perceive a vacuum which provides a perfect setting for questioning the legitimacy of the Nigerian State, its ability to fight against subversion and other acts of hostility and its commitment to uphold the rule of law.
“The only voices being heard are those which demand the balkanization of the country or encourage dangerous politics and other acts that pitch some communities against others.
“The disturbing silence from responsible Nigerians and the capitulation of hitherto influential groups to politics of the gutter are creating a dangerous space which further erodes the chances that a rational approach to the triggers to these provocations can be found,” NEF added.
The Forum, therefore said it is available to sit and discuss all the challenges facing the country with responsible groups and leaders.
“The Forum recognizes the historic opportunity for leaders, elders and other Nigerians who believe in acting responsibly to step up now and retrieve the country from imminent disaster,” NEF added.
No Nigerian should be ordered