- Opposes Sulhu Project
- Urges NASS, Presidency to Reconsider Position on E-Transmission of Election Results
By Ralph Madugu
The Middle Belt Forum has insisted that the Federal Government must come out clean by yielding to the demand by Nigerians that the identities of the sponsors of Boko Haram be made public, especially the 400 bureau de change operators identified by the authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The organisation also said it is “totally opposed” to the Federal Government’s negotiations with Boko Haram terrorists, tagged “Sulhu” in which the Federal Government is allegedly offering monetary rewards to insurgents and other criminals.
The Middle Belt Forum, in a communique signed by its National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, and issued at the end of a 2-day National Executive Council meeting held in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, described as worrisome the report by the UN that the Federal Government was secretly engaged in negotiations with Boko Haram terrorists through which the Federal Government is allegedly offering monetary rewards to insurgents and other criminals.
It stated that 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. NEC is also vehemently opposed to any planned recruitment of these so called repentant terrorists into the national security architecture.”
The body stated 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 this spate of insecurity has pushed the nation to the precipice and called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to arrest the situation and save the nation from another civil war.
According to the Forum, the incessant invasions of communities across the Middle Belt Region in particular and other parts of the country in general by Fulani militia have assumed genocidal/ethnic cleansing scale adding that these attacks have left in their wake mind-boggling massacres and devastations in on communities and displacement of indigenous Peoples to various Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps.
“NEC calls 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.
“NEC also calls on the government to identify all IDPs in the Middle Belt Region and provide relief materials for them.
“NEC calls on the Federal Government to identify, apprehend and bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity to justice so as to serve as a deterrent to others. Consequently, NEC calls on the government to set up an agency to be called the Middle Belt Development Commission (MBDC) to serve as an intervention agency in addressing the challenges caused by the activities of these terrorists.
“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. NEC regrets that many school children and other hapless citizens are still languishing in the dens of kidnappers. NEC further appeals to the government to take urgent steps to rescue those in captivity.”
The MBF posited that since democracy is about the wishes and aspirations of the people, it however, called on both the National Assembly and the Presidency to 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.
It also stated that the MBF National Executive Council 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 and therefore, 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.
While commending the Southern Governors and some Governors in the Middle Belt as well their State Assemblies for their courage in passing Anti-Open Grazing Laws in their states, the MBF condemned in very strong terms the call by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) 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.
“NEC 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 MBF commended the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom “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. It is for his foresight that today; the entire Southern Nigeria has adopted his position based on the validity of his position.
“By the same token, NEC commends 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 MBF opined that it was against the backdrop of the ethnic cleansing being waged by Fulani terrorists in our Communities, including the supplanting of our people, that it has resolved that “people of the Middle Belt Region should rise up and defend themselves in the face of governments abandoning their Constitutional responsibility of defending them or seeming complicity stating that an attack on any community within the region will henceforth, “be considered as an attack on all Communities in the Middle Belt Region with the attendant responses and consequences.”