The 19 northern governors

* ENUGU MASSACRE: Northern govs under fire… for defending Fulani

The 19 northern governors came under criticism yesterday over their position that the Fulani should not be labelled as criminals.

The Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, asked the governors to bury their heads in shame over their position which came in the wake of the heat generated by the attack on Ukpabi-Ninbo community in Enugu State by suspected Fulani herdsmen, last Monday.

Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) also condemned the governors.

The northern governors, who met in Kaduna, on Friday, had taken a strong exception to the branding of perpetrators of crimes around the country as Fulani.

The Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) and Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who spoke on behalf of the group,said it was an insult to consider criminals as Fulani.

Afenifere, yesterday, faulted the governors’ position, asking them to bury their heads in shame.

The Yoruba group, which spoke through their National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told our reporter: “It (the northern governors’ position) is a sign of unfeeling, uncaring for any group today to come out and say that those who have been causing problems and killing people in the Middle Belt and the South are not Fulani herdsmen. They have killed in Agatu land, Enugu; a traditional ruler was killed in Delta State; they killed Chief Olu Falae’s guard and also kidnapped Chief Falae himself.

For some people to gather and call themselves northern governors, and have no sympathy for lives than to be defending the Fulani herdsmen, shows clearly that it is a tragedy of monumental proportion to be in the same country with these elements. You also begin to wonder if the blood of human beings runs in their veins because anybody that has human blood running in his veins will not come and say that Fulani herdsmen are not responsible. What nonsense.”

The Afenifere spokesperson went on: “I think the northern governors should bury their heads in shame. I do not think they are fit to be in the comity of civilized human beings. If the attackers are not Fulani herdsmen, where have they struck in the North-West? Why are their activities only in the Middle Belt and in the South? That is the question these northern governors should answer. When militants were blowing up pipelines in the South-South, were they not called Niger Delta militants? Do they want us to call them Yoruba herdsmen?”

In a statement, the IYC described the northern governors’ position as an affront on other nationalities.

Spokesman for the group, Eric Omare, who spoke to our reporter, said the governors stance was disappointing and a tacit support for criminality and Fulani herdsmen pillaging of their host communities.

His words, “The statement by the northern governors is disappointing and a tacit support for criminality and the ongoing Fulani herdsmen terrorism.

“If they are interested in peace in Nigeria, they ought to be more concerned about the implication of the activities of the Fulani herdsmen rather than a perceived insult on the Fulani race.

“The IYC condemns the stand taken by the northern governors and calls on southern leaders to brace up for the challenges ahead.

“Furthermore, we wish to state that part of the reason Boko Haram grew to become a national problem was the tacit support given to them by northern political leaders and this Fulani herdsmen terrorism is taking the same pattern; hence it must be taken seriously.”

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