Middle Belt Forum (MBF), has resolved that the people of the Middle Belt Region should rise up and defend themselves against ethnic cleansing being waged by Fulani terrorists in their communities, if the Federal Government fails in its Constitutional responsibility to defend them or seeming complicity.
The Forum said an attack on any of their communities is henceforth, should be considered as an attack on all communities in the Middle Belt Region with the attendant responses and consequences.
This was part of the resolutions contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the MBF which was held in Akwanga, Nasarawa State. A wide range of issues affecting the region and the nation at large were discussed exhaustively at the NEC meeting.
The group lamented that the incessant invasions by Fulani militia on several communities across the Middle Belt Region in particular, and other parts of the country in general, have assumed genocidal/ethnic cleansing scale. These attacks, according to them, have left in their wake mind-boggling massacres and devastations in our communities and displacement of indigenous Peoples to various Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps.
The Forum called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to return displaced communities to their ancestral lands, given the fact that territory can no longer be acquired in the 21st century by the use of force. They also urged the government to identify all IDPs in the Middle Belt Region and provide relief materials for them.
The group also observed that many schools and places of worship in the Middle Belt Region have remained closed due to the criminal activities of these Fulani kidnappers and bandits. “We regret that many school children and other hapless citizens are still languishing in the dens of kidnappers. We are appealing to the government to take urgent steps to rescue those in captivity”, the Forum added.
The MBF further noted that Nigeria has been plunged into a critical situation of insecurity occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, armed Fulani militia, kidnappers/bandits and other related criminal elements, adding that the spate of insecurity has pushed the nation to the precipice. The group therefore, called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to arrest the situation and save the nation from another civil war.
The Forum also expressed its concern over the report by the UN that the Federal government is secretly engaged in negotiations tagged ‘Sulhu’ with Boko Haram terrorists through which the Federal Government is allegedly offering monetary rewards to insurgents and other criminals.
The MBF said it is totally opposed to this project and also opposed to any form of amnesty to insurgents and other terror groups who have their hands dripping with blood, adding that they are also vehemently opposed to any planned recruitment of these so called repentant terrorists into the national security architecture
They equally insisted that the Federal Government must come clean and yield to the demand by the Nigerian public to unveil the identities of the sponsors of Boko Haram, especially the 400 Bureau de change operators as identified by the United Arab Emirate (UAE) authorities.
The Forum acknowledged and commended Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State for his resilient stance in the defence of the rights of the Benue people and for his courage and foresight in making the anti-open grazing law even in the face of threats by Miyetti Allah and those other forces that seek to Fulanise and enslave the Benue people and the rest of the Middle Belt.
According to the group, it is for his foresight that today, the entire Southern Nigeria has adopted his position based on the validity of his position.
The IBF also commended the Southern Governors and some Governors in the Middle Belt and their State Assemblies for their courage in passing Anti-Open Grazing Laws in their states. The group, however condemned in very strong terms the call by Miyetti Allah on its members not to obey the Anti-Open Grazing Laws duly passed in their states, threatening to make states that attempt to implement such a law ungovernable.
“IBF views this as a clear threat to National Security, and demands that Miyetti Allah officials should be arrested, investigated and prosecuted under our anti-terrorism laws”, the communiqué stressed.
They equally commended Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his consistent struggle for the Rule of Law and true Federalism, particularly the recent judgment of the Federal High Court on the Value Added Tax (VAT) which has opened the door for the commencement of the struggle for restructuring of Nigeria.
The Forum reviewed the zoning arrangement as it relates to the Presidency in Nigeria and considered the current arrangement of power rotation between the North and the South as unfair as it has failed to recognize the Middle Belt geopolitical block.
The group called on the political actors in Nigeria particularly political parties to henceforth reflect the zoning arrangements for power to rotate between North, South and the Middle Belt.
The MBF said since democracy is about the wishes and aspirations of the people, the National Assembly and the Presidency should reconsider their position on electronic transmission of election results and yield to the wishes of the Nigerian people who are demanding 100 percent implementation of electronic transmission of electoral results in order to ensure credibility and transparency in the electoral process.
Source: AFRICAN EXAMINER