THE Northern Elders Forum (NEF), yesterday asked governments at all levels, community leaders and law enforcement agencies to give maximum protection to Northerners living in the southern part of the country.

The forum alleged profiling and killing of northerners living in some southern states and said such killings were “intolerable and unacceptable”.

The organisation’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said in a statement in Abuja that it was concerned over “rising cases of profiling, targeting, and killings of Northerners in many parts of the South.”

He said the trend appeared so because “groups that target northerners draw inspiration from the silence of leaders and the absence of an appropriate response from security and other law enforcement agencies.”

Continuing, he said: “The impression that northerners are fair game for groups and organizations in the South is forcing northerners to exercise their rights to travel and live peacefully in any part of Nigeria only under great danger and fear. This is intolerable and unacceptable.

“It demands 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,” he said.

He also appealed to all communities to live in peace with each other, while “killers who target northerners are fished out and punished.”