(Communique issued at the end of one-day meeting of SOUTHERN AND MIDDLE BELT LEADERS FORUM (SMBLF) in Abuja on 13th January, 2020)
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF)held a one-day meeting in Abuja on 13th January,2020;48 hours to the 50th anniversary of cessation of hostilities in our 30-month fratricidal war (1967-70).The meeting was presided over by Chief E.K Clark, leader of PANDEF and supported by Chief Ayo Adebanjo for the Leader of Afenifere; Chief John Nnia Nwodo, PresidentGeneral of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Dr Pogu Bitrus, President of Middle Belt Forum. In attendance were prominent leaders from across the South and Middle Belt.
After exhaustive deliberations on the state of the country 50 years after the civil war, the following communique was adopted:
ANOTHER CLOUDS OF WAR GATHER OVER NIGERIA
MEETING observed with sadness that Nigeria today is under a worse irresponsibility of power than it was in 1967 when the first civil war occurred – with unbridled nepotism, sectionalism and undisguised marginalization of major sections of the country in pursuit of FULANISATION AGENDA; as we have seen an ethnic group dominating the heads of the three arms of government, the leadership of all security agencies, finance sector and communications in a manner suggestive of a rehash of the planning stage of the genocide against the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda when all sectors relevant to a war economy were taken over for the purpose;
MEETING was saddened with reports received that Hausa has allegedly become the Lingua Franca in many federal establishments today and non-speakers who complain that they don’t understand the language are usually told to go to school ;
MEETING was not comfortable that 50 years after the war, the war diplomatic protocols and multilateral agreements on movements of citizens across borders enacted by ACTS OF PARLIAMENT are being overthrown by PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATIONS to obviously facilitate invasion of our country by Fulani herdsmen through visa-less entry to change the DEMOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION of Nigeria with the attendant increased insecurity; as the President had openly admitted that most of those flinging illegal AK47s across Nigeria,whom the FG has failed to arrest or disarm, are ex-fighters in Libya and other African countries ;
MEETING was further disturbed by reports alleging that the National Identity Management Commission was registering these illegal migrants. If this is true, we would want to know if registration by NIMC can make anybody a citizen of Nigeria without having any place of birth in the country or parents who are Nigerians;
MEETING reviewed the subtle threats that have followed the introduction of a neighborhood security outfit called AMOTEKUN in South West Nigeria, with a conclusion that there is an obvious agenda to make non-Fulani groups in Nigeria defenseless and vulnerable to herdsmen and kidnappers so that the Presidency would not have to tutor them on how to live peacefully with their killer-neighbors the way it had to tell Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue in January, 2018.;
MEETING gave kudos to South West Governors for exercising the right to provide SECURITY for their people, emphasizing that individuals or states securing themselves is not an issue on the EXCLUSIVE LIST. What is currently on the exclusive list is POLICING, which is wrong under Federalism as federating units in this country once had NATIVE AUTHORITY POLICE before as is usual of MULTI-LEVEL POLICING under a federal structure. While we encourage our states to make do with AMOTEKUN types as a temporary measure, the demand for STATE POLICE must be intensified within the overall RESTRUCTURING of Nigeria;
MEETING also expressed worry as to why the President has kept particular persons as Service Chiefs in the ARMED FORCES since 2015 against traditional practice and in the process truncating the careers of generation of officers in the forces. This strange practice can only kill morale within the forces and leading to decline in efficiency .We ask the President to let the current service Chiefs go and appoint new ones reflecting the FEDERAL CHARACTER of Nigeria.
Finally, meeting warns that no group should because of temporary power advantage be blind to the realities in the country today or think that those who at the receiving end are weak or fools; and plunge the country into another war that can only bring an end to the very idea of Nigeria as we have it, God forbids!
Again, we ask for the immediate reconstruction of Nigeria along federal lines to guarantee PEACEFUL-COEXISTENCE .
Gen. C.R.U Iherike
Senator Bassey Henshaw
Dr Isuwa Dogo Middle Belt