Herdsmen Crisis: Nigerians Have Right To Live Wherever They Choose—El-Rufai

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Wednesday, urged his colleagues all over Nigeria to avoid anarchy and uphold the rule of law and the right of all Nigerians to reside wherever they choose to live.

In a state broadcast, the governor also urged his colleagues in other states to order the arrest of host citizens who issue eviction notices to people of other tribes.

Oyo and Ondo States have been in the eye of the storm lately over security challenges and the moves to check some herdsmen’s activities said to have taken to crime.

A popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, had issued a quit notice to herdsmen accused of sundry crimes in the Ibarapa area of Oyo and enforced the same.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had also said herdsmen must register with the state government or vacate the state’s forest reserves.

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The two developments had raised dust in recent time with the Presidency saying that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, ordered the arrest of Igboho. The Presidency also knocked Akeredolu for issuing a vacation order to herdsmen, reiterating that herders have the constitutional right to reside anywhere in Nigeria.

Speaking on Wednesday, the Kaduna State governor said indigenes of the states residing in other parts of the country had reached out to him to lament their host communities’ hostilities in recent times.

“On behalf of the Government of Kaduna State, I call on all Nigerians living in our state to respect law and order and the rights of all citizens to live in peace and security wherever they reside or work. I appeal to my colleagues governing other states in our country to make similar statements and disavow these attacks and massacres.

“We must avoid anarchy and vigorously promote the rule of law and the right of all citizens to life, liberty and livelihoods wherever they choose to reside. Elected and appointed public leaders across the country must act on their constitutional obligations to protect all citizens, uphold order, and contribute to a climate for peaceful resolution of all issues.

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“We have resisted the attempt to tag all members of any ethnic group for the criminal actions of some of their members. At all times, our government has upheld every citizen’s right to live and pursue legitimate livelihoods wherever they choose.

“This is why we ordered the arrest of persons who issued an unlawful eviction notice to our citizens of a certain ethnicity in 2017. The impunity and calculated disregard for common humanity that prompted such irresponsible rhetoric is sadly at play again.

“We cannot allow, by inaction or otherwise, the reign of anarchy where fear creates a tragic momentum of violence, blurring the lines between victims and perpetrators and complicating a difficult moment.

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“We urge our representatives in the National Assembly to expedite action on the Constitutional amendments that would usher in State and community policing as this is the ultimate panacea for effective law enforcement nationwide.

“Governments and security agencies must rein in all non-state actors, tackle hateful rhetoric and protect all communities. Those that engage in criminal acts must be arrested and prosecuted without regard to their ethnic or religious persuasion.

“Civic leaders, across ethnic and religious lines, in all our communities should also help calm the heated passions of the moment, lest the few destroy the many, turning victims of crime against each other, to the delight of those who do not mean well.

“We cannot quench one fire by setting more places ablaze. Let us reject the path of disorder, marginalise, expose and prosecute all criminals and promote peace.”