South-West Governors Forum has reacted to a recent call by Northern Elders Forum, NEF, asking herdsmen to leave the Southern region of the country and return to the North.
Governors of the South West said the call was most unfortunate, divisive and retrogressive.
The Chairman of NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, had in a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, claimed that there was a move by some trouble elements to engage herders with violence in the Southern part of the country, while directing the herders to return to the North.
South-West Governors’ reaction was contained in a statement personally signed by the Forum’s Chairman and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Friday.
The statement added, ”With no intention to engage anyone, it is incumbent on us, as elected representatives of our people in the South West Region of the country, to denounce this divisive and retrogressive statement in the strongest terms possible.
“The Southwest Governors viewed the report with palpable trepidation and outrage, the sustained attempts to fan the ember of discord, seizing every opportunity offered by the current security challenge to undermine the unity and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.”
“It is appalling, to assert the least, that the tragic incident, which claimed the life of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Pa Fasoranti, the leader of Afenifere, would be used by certain persons to advance the cause of parochial and prebendal politics.
“We intend to get to the root of the sad occurrence as we await the findings of security agencies on the unfortunate incident.”
“The governors and the people of the South West are working assiduously, at the current security challenges with a view to finding lasting solutions to curtail the nefarious activities of undesirable elements bent on wrecking our collective peace.
”We are not unaware of the antics of certain elements, who hope to garner political mileage from the contrived crises in virtually all parts of the country.
“We are equally convinced that this confusion serves the narrow interests of some persons.
“The country has a rich history; she has had to encounter adversities in the course of her transition to nationhood.
“She has overcome them all. This distraction will also pass. We look up to the security agencies to take cohesive steps to curtail this major challenge of insecurity which engenders hopelessness.
“We can only enjoin all citizens, on our part, to be patient and continue to cooperate with them as they combat the festering crises.
“We on our part have taken great strides with the hope that great success will be achieved.
“We, however, note, with discomfiture, the unpatriotic acts of some Nigerians, who will stop at nothing in their bid to undermine the Federal Government.”