Nigeria under worse power play than civil war era ― SMBLF

Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) said the country is today sadly under “worse irresponsibility of power” than it was 50 years ago when the first civil war broke out.

The Forum said this in a communique issued at the end of its meeting on Monday in Abuja, the federal capital city, and signed by Mr Yinka Odumakin for South- West, Gen. C.R.U. Iherike (South- East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle- Belt).

SMBLF, at a meeting attended by prominent leaders to deliberate exhaustively on the state of the country 50 years after the civil war,
and presided over by PANDEF leader, Chief Edwin Clark, with support by Chief Ayo Adebanjo of Afenifere, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and Dr Pogu Bitrus, President of Middle Belt Forum, said the current sad situation being witnessed in the country is a result of what is observed as unbridled nepotism, sectionalism and undisguised marginalization of major sections of the country in pursuit of Fulanisation Agenda.

It warned that no group should because of temporary power advantage be blind to the realities in the country today, or think that those who were at the receiving end were weak or fools, and plunge the country into another war that could only bring an end to the very idea of Nigeria as it were.

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According to the leaders, the situation now is such that an ethnic group has been allowed to dominate 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 group in Rwanda when all sectors relevant to a war economy were taken over for the purpose.

“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,” SMBLF said.

The Forum said it was saddened with reports received that Hausa has allegedly become the Lingua Franca in many federal establishments in the country today, noting that non-speakers who complained that they don’t understand the language were usually told to go to school.

The leaders expressed their displeasure with the free visa move by the President Muhammadu Buhari led government, declaring that they were 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.”

This was as they recalled that the president had openly admitted that most of those carrying illegal AK47s across the country and whom the federal government had failed to arrest or disarm were 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,” the communique said.

SMBLF said its conclusion, following review of the subtle threats that had trailed the introduction of a neighbourhood security outfit called Amotekun in the South West, “is that there was an obvious agenda to make non-Fulani groups in Nigeria defenceless and vulnerable to herdsmen and kidnappers so that the presidency would not have to tutor them on how to live peacefully with their killer-neighbours the way it had to tell Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue in January 2018.”

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It commended the six governors of South West for exercising the right to provide security for their people, just as it emphasized that individuals or states securing themselves was not an issue on the Exclusive List.

According to SMBLF, what is currently on the exclusive list is Policing, saying this “is even 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,” the Forum stated.

Speaking further, the leaders, while expressing worries as to why President Buhari had kept in office the service chiefs since 2015 “against the traditional practice and in the process truncating the careers of a generation of officers in the forces,” argued that this strange practice could only kill morale within the forces. leading to a decline in efficiency.

They called on the president to relief the current service chiefs of their positions and appoint new ones that would reflect the principle of Federal Character in Nigeria, warning that no group should due to temporary power advantage be blind to the realities in the country today, think that those who were at the receiving end were weak or fools; and, therefore, plunge the country into another war that could only bring about its end.

“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!” the leaders said, just as they reiterated their call for restructuring of the country along federal lines to guarantee peaceful- co-existence.

“Again, we ask for the immediate reconstruction of Nigeria along federal lines to guarantee peaceful- co-existence.

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