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Name terrorism sponsors, prevent another civil war, Middle Belt Forum tells FG

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has challenged the Federal Government to unveil the sponsors of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria and prosecute the 400 Bureau de Change (BDC) operators as identified by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities, and absolve itself of culpability.

The MBF, in a communiqué released after a two-day National Executive Committee (NEC) at the weekend, in Akwanga, Nasarawa State and signed by its National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, expressed grave concern, especially given the report by the United Nations (UN) that the Federal Government secretly engaged in ‘Sulhu’ (negotiations) with Boko Haram terrorists and allegedly offering them monetary rewards.

It stated that the incessant invasions of several communities in many parts of the country by Fulani ‘militia’ have assumed genocidal and ethnic-cleansing scale.

The communique urged the Nigerian 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 terrorists.

The communique read in part: “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.

“This spate of insecurity has pushed the nation to the precipice. NEC calls on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to arrest the situation and save the nation from another civil war.

“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 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. 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

“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 insists 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 Bureax de change operators as identified by the UAE authorities.”

The MBF also said it finds worrisome, given the report by the United Nations (UN) that the Nigerian government is secretly engaged in negotiations tagged ‘Sulhu’ with Boko Haram terrorists through which it is allegedly offering monetary rewards to insurgents and other criminals.

“Consequently, NEC 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,” it said.

Calling on the people of the Middle Belt Region to rise up and defend themselves in the face of governments abandoning their constitutional responsibility of defending them, the MBF commended the Southern governors and governors in the Middle Belt and their state Assemblies for their courage in passing Anti-Open Grazing Laws in their states.

The forum, therefore, called on 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.

Urging Nigerians to recognise the Middle Belt geopolitical bloc in the rotation of presidency, the MBF commended Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state for his consistent struggle for the Rule of Law and federalism, particularly regarding the recent judgment of the Federal High Court on the Value Added Tax (VAT).

It also commended Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State for his resilient stance in the defence of the rights of the Benue people.

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