Presidency: MBF seeks North-South-Middle Belt rotation


Smarting from the flu of herders, farmers’ clashes and sundry security challenges, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) Sunday demanded for power rotation among the North, South and Middle Belt regions to assuage the people’s concerns.

The umbrella body encompassing the states within the Middle Belt region of the country took the stand at the end of a two-day National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Akwanga, Nasarawa state, Thursday-Friday, September 9-10, 2021.

The Forum also passed a vote of confidence on the Bitrus-led National Working Committee (NWC).

 In a communiqué issued by MBF National President Dr Pogu Bitrus and made available to Blueprint in Abuja, the Forum described as unfair the current power arrangement between the North and the South that failed to recognise the Middle Belt geopolitical block.

They stated that, “After extensive deliberations by the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) National Executive Committee (NEC) on a wide range of issues affecting the Middle Belt Region and the nation at large, it was resolved as follows:

“That, 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.

“That, 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 genocide/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

 “That 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 Bureau de change operators as identified by the UAE authorities.

“NEC finds worrisome, given the report by the UN that the Federal government is secretly engaged in negotiations tagged ‘Sulhu’ with Boko Haram terrorists through which the Federal Government 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.

“Since democracy is about the wishes and aspirations of the people, NEC calls on both the 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.

 “NEC commends the Southern Governors and some Governors in the Middle Belt and their State Assemblies for their courage in passing Anti-Open Grazing Laws in their states. NEC condemns in very strong terms the call by Miyetti Allah on its members not to obey the Anti-Open Grazing Laws duly passed in their states, threatening to make states that attempt to implement such a law ungovernable. NEC views this as a clear threat to National Security, and demands that Miyetti Allah officials should be arrested, investigated and prosecuted under our anti-terrorism laws.

 “NEC reviews the zoning arrangement as it relates to the Presidency in Nigeria and considers the current arrangement of power rotation between the North and the South as unfair as it has failed to recognize the Middle Belt geopolitical block.

“NEC, therefore, calls on the political actors in Nigeria particularly political parties to henceforth reflect the zoning arrangements for power to rotate between North, South and the Middle Belt.

“NEC acknowledges and commends Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state for his resilient stance in the defence of the rights of the Benue people and for his courage and foresight in making the anti-open grazing law even in the face of threats by Miyetti Allah and those other forces,” it said.

The communiqué   further said: “By the same token, NEC commends Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his consistent struggle for the Rule of Law and true Federalism, particularly the recent judgment of the Federal High Court on the Value Added Tax (VAT) which has opened the door for the commencement of the struggle for Restructuring of Nigeria.”

While noting with concerns the attack by suspected Fulani herders, “NEC resolves that people of the Middle Belt Region should rise up and defend themselves in the face of governments abandoning their Constitutional responsibility of defending them or seeming complicity. “Furthermore, NEC resolves that an attack on any of our communities is henceforth, considered as an attack on all Communities in the Middle Belt Region with the attendant responses and consequences.”