The Middle Belt Forum has urged the federal government to implement some of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference especially those that would address structural imbalances in the country.
The forum made the plea Monday at its one-day Ethnic Nationalities Conference held in Abuja and attended by states of the middle belt region.
Frowning at the growing insecurity in the country, the forum in a communiqué issued at the end of the deliberation urged governors and members of the National Assembly from the region to begin in earnest agitation for the implementation of the recommendations as panacea for a stable and secured country.
The forum said the only panacea for the survival of Nigeria is to “restructure and the remove the structural imbalances that occasion the terrible injustices of the peoples of the Middle Belt. The amendment to the constitution should work towards providing for special rights for minorities in our laws.”
The forum in the communiqué jointly signed by the national chairman, Dr Pogu Bitrus, and national secretary, Senator Shem N Zagbayi, advised the ethnic nationalities in the region to reject the plan to establish cattle colonies whether Ruga which has been ‘suspended’ or by whatever new name the government may come up with.
“One of the principles of our revenue formula for which the North has been enjoying is land mass. The framers of the constitution included land mass as one of the principles for revenue allocation because of its economic use, it should be put to that use now. Let the North give their land for cattle colonies or Ruga.
“There is urgent need for united political force and quality leadership in the middle belt. Actions must be united and from now henceforth, any and every attack will be collectively condemned and resisted as from now an attack on one will be considered an attack on all.
“The governments of the Middle Belt states should quickly come together and develop an education agenda for the youths particularly the girl child. In this regard”, it said adding that this would encourage gender and youth participation in education at all levels.
According to the communiqué, African Democratic Congress (ADC) presidential candidate, Dr Obadiah Malaifiya presented one of the two lead papers entitled ‘State of the Nation: the Middle Belt Perspective which highlighted among others the need for stronger political bond regardless of the parties by states of the region, quality leadership and therefore pressed for the governors and other political office holders to unite against corruption to free resources for the needed infrastructural and human capital development.
Saying it would take more proactive steps subsequently, the forum said:“Ethnic Nationalities of the Middle Belt calls on the Government of Great Britain to take responsibility for the pains of the peoples of the Middle Belt. From now onwards the ethnic nationalities of the Middle Belt will now approach the United Nations to ventilate their grievances and seek for justice”.