The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Tuesday called on Governors and security agencies in southern part of the Country to protect the lives and properties of Northerners in their respective States.
NEF said it would be difficult to prevail on Northern communities to protect Southerners and their properties in their areas if their kinsmen in the South were targeted during crises.
The Prof. Ango Abdullahi-led group made the call during a town hall meeting it organised in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to gauge the mood of Northerners during and after the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests.
Various Northern groups and communities across the Niger Delta attended the meeting with their leaders narrating their ordeals during the protests.
Abdullahi observed that irresponsible elements hijacked the protests and wreaked havoc in different parts of the Country, including Rivers State and wondered why Northerners were targeted.
Making veiled reference to the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra(IPOB), Abdullahi said NEF through various interactions established that the attacks and killings in Rivers State were carried out by a group.
He stated that the North would no longer allow any group to cross the red line, adding that insecurity and violence have persisted because perpetrators are brought to book.
“We have been vindicated because we suspected an agenda behind those protests. The genuine protest was taking over by vandals and criminals for various reasons unfortunately some of those reasons were political.
“We came because we saw no reason innocent residents where ever they are, irrespective of where they come from who are not participating in the protest will be subjected to violence.
They suffered enormous violence and loss of lives and assets of various magnitude.
“What was surprising to us was that those that perpetrated the violence against Northerners are the same people who are crying more and calling for compensation other than those, who suffered the consequences.
“We take particular delight when we talked with the governor of the state. We were told by residents of Rivers State that the governor was particularly interested in protecting them and their rights as he swore in his oath of office.
“It is up to the authorities to assure all of us that this must end. This must stop. I think the North will no longer allow this red line to be crossed. People get away with criminal behaviours.
That is why they keep recycling this irresponsible behaviour.
“Therefore, as we leave the Southsouth, we will be heading for the Southeast. We will be speaking with the leadership there, especially the Governors, to remind them of their responsibility to protect residents irrespective of where they come from in their areas of responsibility.”