James Ojo and Fred Itua, Abuja
Political and religious leaders from the Middle Belt have alleged that the ongoing massacre of people from the Middle Belt and southern Nigeria by herdsmen is part of a grand plot to take over territories.
While they condemned recent verbal attacks on some religious and former military leaders from the region by those they described as mercenaries, they vowed to resist any plans by certain “powerful individuals” to annex their ancestral lands to marauding herdsmen.
National President of Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said in a statement that attempts to silent voices of critical stakeholders by agents of government would fail.
“The attention of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has been drawn to a statement credited to an amorphous group that calls itself the Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG).
“In its publication, the said group did not hide its desperate intention to rubbish the former minister of gefence, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (retd), former military governor of old Rivers State, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (retd), among other notable members of the Nigerian Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF) over their written submission to the United Kingdom parliament on the ongoing killings across communities of the Middle Belt and other parts of Nigeria.
“The Forum considers the position of the so-called conscience group as a deliberate falsehood that is aimed at misleading the unsuspecting public through foisting diversionary plot to draw the attention of the public away from the heinous genocide being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen terrorists across the Middle Belt and other parts of the country in pursuit of the ‘Fulanisation’ agenda as earlier raised by other notable persons and groups. This plan to subjugate and conquer our people and Southern Nigeria will be vehemently resisted.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed shock at the upsurge of attacks by insurgents and banditry and the rise in casualties contrary to claims by government that it had curtailed their activities.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) also described the increasing wave of attacks as worrisome.
TUC President, Bobboi Kiagama, in a telephone interview tasked those in charged of the nation’s security to wake up to the recent challenges posed by the activities of insurgents and banditry.
“The truth is that the upsurge in criminality is worrisome. The Federal Government should sit up. Let them take the necessary actions to check the activities of insurgents. If it is to change, let there be changes and new hands be put in place,” he advised.
He said insecurity would discourage investors, hence the need to urgently put an end to insurgency and other criminal activities.
Similarly, the NLC, in a statement, yesterday, by its acting President, Najeem Yasin, called on President Buhari to review the nation’s security architecture to combat insurgents and banditry.
Labour noted that the weekend suicide bombing at a viewing centre in Manadarari, Konduga Local Government Area, Borno State and other killings by bandits in Shiroro community, Niger State and several communities in Zamfara and Katsina states, were indications that the battle against terrorism has assumed a frightening dimension, both in frequency and casualty figures.