South West governors have expressed anger over the call by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), asking all Fulani residing in Southern parts of the country to return to the north, describing such call as most unfortunate, divisive and retrogressive.
In a statement today, July 20, personally signed by their Chairman and Ondo state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu in Akure condemned such call, saying: “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 South West Governors’ Forum views, 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 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 are, through this medium, reiterating the commitment of the Governors and the people of the South West to the nationhood project, as we continue to address the challenges confronting our people.”
The governors promised that they “will promote, with renewed vigour, all activities which encourage amity among our people. They therefore called “on all persons of Fulani extraction, and indeed all Nigerians from other parts of the country, resident in the South West Region, to discountenance the unpatriotic outburst of the Northern Elders Forum and other self-serving organizations of opportunists.”