President Muhammadu Buhari has slammed the prominent Northern Elders Forum for urging Fulani herdsmen to return home to northern Nigeria if they feel unsafe and insecure in the southern region of the country.

Buhari said such a call was political and needless.

According to a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday, the president said all citizens of Nigeria were free to move and live within any part of the country they please, whether or not they are originally from there.

“In line with our country’s constitution, the government of Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect citizens of Nigeria wherever they find themselves.

“No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether North, South, East or West,” the statement stated.

It added: “They have no one’s authority to make such pronouncements. “The polarising role of the Northern Elders Forum and all those other groups dabbling into issues of security to score cheap political points has for long been a sore point in Nigeria’s body polity.  

“They should not be allowed to mislead anyone, least of all the Fulani herders. “The Buhari administration is fully devoted to finding a lasting solution to the herder-farmer clashes in different parts of Nigeria – one that would be acceptable to all the parties involved.”