By Ben Agande
IN a move likely to reassure Southerners residing in Northern Nigeria of their safety, governors of 19 northern states and traditional rulers of northern extraction, yesterday, vowed to protect the lives and property of Southerners in the North.
They also urged Southern leaders to do same in order to put an end to the current ethnic tension across the country.
In what sounded like an irony, the leaders of the region that had been accused of benefiting from alleged lopsided appointments in this dispensation accused the Federal Government of being responsible for the unfair manner of appointments.
Consequently, they demanded the reconstitution of the Federal Character Commission, FCC, Federal Civil Service Commission, FCS, and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RFMC, saying the failure to do so had resulted in lopsided appointments.
They also constituted a 12-man committee that would come out with a position on restructuring.
The committee which is headed by Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal was mandated to collate views on the agitation for restructuring from individuals, groups and corporate organisations in the north.
Other members of the committee include the governors of Nasarawa, Gombe, Benue, Bauchi and Kaduna states as well as the Emirs of Kano, Zazzau, Gummi, the Etsu Nupe and the Gbong Gwom Jos and Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Sonni Tyoden, who would serve as secretary.
These were the outcome of a meeting held in Kaduna on the state of the nation.
A communiqué signed by the Chairman Northern States Governors Forum, NSGF, and Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said the committee would come up with a sustainable position.
The communiqué reads: “The committee is to come up with an acceptable, tenable and sustainable position for the northern region in consonance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution, taking into cognisance, the current constitutional amendment process going on at the national assembly.
‘’We reassure all Nigerians who live in the north of our readiness to protect their lives and property and we, therefore, call on our colleagues in the south to emulate this gesture.
“The forum, therefore, discourages ethinicising the deadly conflicts and crimes with the Fulani tribe as other tribes could be cattle-rearers too.
“The free movement of persons, goods, and services within the West African sub-region as ratified by the ECOWAS Convention should be subjected to the laws of individual member states in order to check cross border crimes, especially cattle rustling.
“Creating more grazing reserves and providing adequate infrastructure in such reserves by way of addressing the needs of cattle-rearers and those of their animals before the enactment of the appropriate legislation will ameliorate the challenges.”
In addition, the leaders decried the escalating clashes between farmers and cattle-rearers, saying the situation was being worsened by the infiltration of criminal elements from outside the north who pose as Fulani herdsmen.