Elder statesman, Alhajji Tanko Yakasai on Wednesday faulted the call by the leadership of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Coalition of the Northern Groups, asking Fulanis in the southern part of the country to relocate to the North over fear of being attacked.
The NEF and Coalition of Northern Groups on Tuesday jointly expressed anxiety over plot to attack Fulani herdsmen in the South and called for their vacation from that territory, in one voice.
But Yakasai, a respected voice in the North and member of Board of Trustees of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) dismissed the call, arguing that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria allows everyone, including the Fulanis the choice of residing at any part of the country.
According to a statement signed by Yakasai and made available to journalists, “I wish to condemn in the strongest terms possible the recent call by the Northern Group to Fulani people living in Southern part of Nigeria to leave the area and return to the North.
“Leadership of the Northern Group should be aware that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has bestowed right to every Nigerian to live in any part of the country he or she wishes to reside and that no authority, group of people or an individual no matter how highly placed can deny any Nigerian to exercise this inalienable right.
” Section 4 of the constitution has guaranteed not only the right for any Nigerian citizen to reside in an part of the country he so wished.
“That section has also guaranteed to every Nigerian right to hold and express opinion without let or hindrance. Like other Nigerians; Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and members of other Nigerian ethnic groups Fulani are indigenes of this country and are entitled to enjoy all the rights and privileges other Nigerians are enjoying and nobody can put any hindrance to prevent them from enjoying those rights.
“I am a Hausaman not Fulani but I will defend the right of the Fulani and other Nigerian people to enjoy all the rights I and other Nigerians are enjoying.
“I appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to join me in this fight so that together we shall make our country a place where our people can live in peace and enjoy peaceful coexistence with one another.
“I call on all northerners and other Nigerians to be weary of the unpatriotic elements leaving within our midst, northerners and non-northerners alike, who do not believe in the unity and oneness of our beloved country not to allow themselves to be misled by the antics of those unpatriotic elements who have nothing positive to contribute towards making this country great.
“Our nation has all it takes to make it the envy of many. What we lack is good leadership. I believe we shall one day overcome this misfortune.
“We therefore need to direct our attention in creating ideal leadership that can take us to the Promised Land. Many other nations found themselves at one time in the kind of situation we are presently experiencing they took up the challenge and overcome their problems. Theirs is a different story today. We too can do it and succeed.
”What we need is resolution to face the challenges and determination to succeed. If others can succeed we too can. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”