Middle Belt youths ask kinsmen to defend selves against attacks, blame FG

President Muhammadu Buhari

The youth wing of the Middle Belt Forum yesterday said the unabated killing of the people in their communities was a war declared on them, asking their kinsmen to defend themselves against any attack.

The youths who said they had lost trust in the federal Government to protect their people, expressed regret that “President Muhammadu Buhari is sleeping on duty.”

A statement issued in Jos, Plateau State yesterday by the National Leader of the Middle Belt Forum, Youth Wing, Comrade Emma Zopmal, read in part: “We should not make mistakes thinking that Nigerian government will stop this situation. Every part of the country is defending its territory now.

“The Fulani terrorists will leave no part of the Middle Belt region untouched. Then they will finally face the Southern part of the country with war. Despite the calls on Federal Government by Middle Belt people to stop this genocide, it has deliberately allowed Fulani terrorists to kill our people on daily basis and there’s no end of it in sight.

“We now call on the Middle Belt people to rise up to this occasion, while being law abiding, to defend themselves with any means available when the situation arises. Our goodness should not be taken for granted. We do not have trust in Nigerian government to protect us anymore. The ugly tactics of Nigerian government in Numan, Plateau, Benue and Southern Kaduna of recent are proofs that our government is not doing its best to protect us.”

Zopmal lamented that Nigerian government had launched special military operations and cracked down on civilians in different parts of the country, but treated the Fulani terrorists with kid gloves even when they fired at the Nigerian Air Force jet in Numan, Adamawa State.

“It is evident that very soon they will defy Nigerian government authorities openly. It’s very unfortunate that our leaders who have served this country in the highest capacities have not said or done anything about these killings. The so-called Northern Elders Forum led by Paul Unongo, who defected from the Middle Belt, has become a toothless bulldog that cannot do anything about these killings in his own state, Benue. General Yakubu Gowon who recently opposed restructuring Nigeria, has never said or done anything against the killings of his fellow Middle Belters. Where are our retired officers who made names in defence of this country? Can’t you see war on us?

“We also call on the political leaders in the Middle Belt to rise up to this occasion. Most of you have been blindfolded with party politics and allow your people to be slaughtered every day. It makes no sense to even serve in Buhari’s cabinet as the same government presides over the killing of your people. It makes no sense to be in opposition and keep quiet or do nothing over the killing of your people.

“We express our condolences to our people in Benue State over the recent genocide that claimed more than 50 people when a whole community was sacked by the Fulani terrorists. We do not only condemn it but also call on our people to defend themselves with any means available to them.

We strongly back Governor Samuel Ortom to decisively deal with any Fulani terrorist that violates the Anti-Open Grazing Law in the state. The takeover plans by the Fulani should not be allowed in any part of the Middle Belt. We also extend our condolences to our people in Numan, Southern Kaduna and Plateau State over the recent genocide that claimed many lives and property.

“We call on the friends of Middle Belt and the international community to ask the Nigerian government to immediately stop the Fulani militia from killing our people. We do not wrong anybody, why the killings? If they are not called to order, definitely it will lead to lawlessness.

“ We do not want a situation where our military will be fighting internal problems every now and then because it will definitely polarise them. We also hope that our military will play their professional roles independently to protect our people,” the group said.

The Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) appealed to the Federal Government to investigate the deadly farmers and herdsmen clashes, saying they could cause a national security crisis.

The association, which held a meeting yesterday in Jos under the leadership of its National Secretary and a member of the Board of Trustees, Alhaji Sale Bayari, condemned the enactments of “draconian, repressive and peace-breaching laws targeted at the means of livelihood of over 18 million Fulani herdsmen in the country, without regards to the consequences of such oppressive laws to the corporate existence of the country.”

The association however condemned the level of lawlessness which led to the death of scores of farmers and herdsmen in Benue during efforts to enforce the November 1, 2017 Anti-Grazing Law.

Bayari said the meeting observed the relative peace in Taraba State despite the alleged killing of over 900 herdsmen on the Mambilla Plateau of Sardauna Local Government Area between the 17th and 23rd of June, 2017.

“The association has filed a suit challenging the Taraba State House of Assembly and the state government on the enactment and signing into law the Taraba State Anti-Open Grazing Law. This, the GAFDAN did, in order to discourage people from taking the law into their hands for self-help like what is happening today in Benue State. As a law abiding association, we shall always operate within the ambit of the law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he contended.

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