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We never declared war on Fulani herders – Southern, Middle Belt leaders

Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) on Wednesday said there was never a time its governors and leaders declared war against the Fulani herdsmen from the North whom they said have lived with them for many years.

The group expressed shock over a statement credited to the Chairman of Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, that the Fulani herdsmen should return home if they are no longer safe in the South.

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Abdullahi alongside the Coalition of Northern Groups had asked the Fulani herders to return to the North if their safety can no longer be guaranteed.

But the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders comprising Chief Edwin Clark; Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere) Chief Nnia Nwodo (President General, Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo) and Dr. Pogu Bitrus (President General, Middle Belt Forum) said they were saddened by the statement created to Prof. Ango Abdullahi and the Coalition of Northern Groups.

They said they were shocked that Prof. Abdullahi who is co-Chairman of Nigerian Leaders and Elders’ Forum could join the call for the Fulani herders to quit the South.

In a statement made available to our correspondent, the SBMLF said the time calls for sober reflection and regretted that Prof. Abdullahi chose “to further inflame passion by making reckless and unguarded statements on the state of affairs.”

The forum reiterated that the Southern and Middle Belt leaders were not against the Fulani herdsmen as there are a large number of them living with them and doing legitimate businesses in their communities.

They called on President Muhammadu Buhari “to put a stop to the divisive actions of Prof. Ango Abdullahi and his youths because it will be very dangerous for us to return to circumstances that created the Civil War”

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