The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed concern over alleged rising cases of profiling, targeting and killing of northerners in many parts of the South.
The forum made its feeling known yesterday in a statement signed by the director, publicity and advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
It said the recent murder of some people in Imo State apparently on suspicion that they were northerners was one incident among many recent ones that involved harassment, illegal arrests, attacks and killing of Nigerians from the North.
It said it would appear that groups that target northerners draw inspiration from the silence of leaders and the absence of appropriate response from security and other law enforcement agencies.
The forum drew attention to the dangers of the escalating incidents and provocations, saying the impression that northerners were fair game for groups and organisations in the South was forcing northerners to exercise their rights to travel and live peacefully in any part of Nigeria only under great danger and fear, adding that this was intolerable and unacceptable.
It demanded that governments, communities and law enforcement agencies protect northerners living in the South. It also demanded clear and emphatic condemnation from leaders, elders and communities who understand that the welfare and security of all citizens are vulnerable to the degree that other citizens are unsafe in certain parts of the country.
“We serve notice that the North will use the degree to which contestants for political office speak in clear terms in condemnation of these attacks on northerners as a yardstick for our support of candidates and parties. While we appeal to all communities to live in peace with each other, we also demand that killers who target northerners are fished out and punished,” it said.
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