The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has reportedly turned down a proposed security meeting organised by former military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
The group which consists of the Afenifere, the apex Yoruba socio-political group; Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-political group; the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, and the Middle Belt Forum, rejected the meeting invitation because the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria was also invited too.
The meeting was supposed to hold today July 29 and tomorrow 30, 2019.
The Southern and Middle Belt leaders in a joint statement signed by Chief Edwin Clark, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, and Dr. Bitrus Pogu, in Abuja on Sunday noted that they will not come together in a meeting with those using illegal AK-47 to inflict terror on citizens all over the nation.
Read the statement issued by the group in part below (as obtained by to Naija Buzz News);
“We thank you for your interest in the affairs of our country which made us to accept your invitation in good faith.
“It was in the thick of our preparations for the journey that fuller details of the roundtable came to our attention, some aspect of which has necessitated this last minute communication with you.
“We were comfortable up to that point until we saw the following: Gan Allah Fulani Development Association; Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.”
“While we do not know the members of the first group, the lumping of Miyetti Allah, a trade association for cattle herders and whose members have been accused of various violations of rights, including life, across the country sends worrying signal to us.
“It falls into the categorisation of our respected socio-cultural platforms with Miyetti Allah by Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu.
“We consider the above a grave insult to our bodies and our coming to a roundtable with the group would mean acquiescence to the narrative that put us in the same bracket with those wielding illegal AK-47 all over the country and inflicting terror on fellow citizens.”
The leaders in the South and Middle Belt have vehemently condemned the activities of armed Fulani herdsmen in the region.
The group had repeatedly accused Fulani herdsmen of killing their men and raping their women. What is however more worrying is the fact that no one has been arrested for the death of thousands in the hands on these herdsmen.
Miyetti Allah had however denied responsibility for the deaths. According to the group, their members do not kill people, but are allowed to defend themselves should anyone attack them.
Naija Buzz News reportedly how one of the leader of Miyetti Allah described those who attacks any Fulani herder as ‘enemy’ saying they shall be dealt with appropriately. He however did not talk about the thousands of deaths and atrocities by the herders.
The problem is that the herders graze their cattle on farm land belonging to the people in the south and middle belt region. According to Miyetti Allah, the British had given them grazing routes even before independence, but villagers now farm on them, claiming it’s their land. The apex Fulani group further noted that they equally have right to the land.
Few weeks ago, the leaders in the south rejected a proposal by the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish the Ruga Settlement for herders in state across the nation. The rejection and controversies led to the suspension of the programme by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Joseph Simeon is an Editor/Content Creator at Naija Buzz News. He is an experienced content creator. He currently leads a small group of talented writers at Naija Buzz News. He previously served as the Relationship Editor at 1Push.Ng. He studied Public Administration at the Federal Polytechnic Idah, Kogi State, before proceeding to Kaduna Polytechnic Kaduna for his Advance Studies in Public Administration. Simeon loves and enjoys playing football.