The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says that the establishment of a defence outfit such as Amotekun is not the solution to insecurity.
South-west governors formed the outfit to check the high wave of insecurity in the region.
But in a statement on Monday, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s director of publicity and advocacy, said that there were problems created by outfits like Amotekun.
The recent events between herders and locals in the south-west, Baba-Ahmed said, have taken on a national dimension and need to be addressed.
He said that protection should not be protected or extended to those who break the rule, questioning why they are now free to target Fulani groups.
“Persons who are known to be threatening Fulani communities and attacking them are still free. The Forum hopes that the meeting will achieve the objective of assuring Fulani communities living lawfully in the South West that they will be protected, and assure all other citizens in South West States that they will continue to receive protection of the State from kidnappings and other crimes,” he said.
“The resort to regional outfits like Amotekun and other self-appointed guardians of security of communities are not solutions to these limitations. In the last few days, the nation has noticed the problems with these outfits and actions of locals who masquerade as defenders of ethnic interests.
“At all cost, Nigerians who break the law should have no cover or immunity, whether they are Fulani or local enforcers or organizations. The Forum believes it is time for the federal government to recognize and deal with the issue of cattle herding as a national challenge, and adopt policies that will mitigate the problems it poses to the economy, farmers, herders and all communities.
“Most important, the Forum advises President Muhammadu Buhari to meet immediately with all State Governors and heads of security and law and order agencies to examine how the current tensions in the country can be de-escalated.
“Events in the South West are assuming national dimensions, and only a national approach will provide short and long term solutions.
“The Forum appeals to all Nigerians to exercise great restraint in their comments and actions in these trying times. It appeals to leaders at all levels to contribute to the search for solutions to developing threats which will make all our lives worse.”