Nige­ria worse now than in 1967, SMBCF warns

...say visa on ar­rival, a ploy to aid herds­men in­va­sion

The Punch - - POLITICS TODAY - Ade­lani Ade­pegba, Abuja

Fifty years af­ter the civil war, the South­ern and Mid­dle Belt Lead­ers Fo­rum has said that the na­tion is worse to­day than it was in 1967.

it said the na­tion was fac­ing “un­bri­dled nepo­tism, sec­tion­al­ism and undis­guised marginal­i­sa­tion of ma­jor sec­tions of the coun­try in pur­suit of the Fu­lani­sa­tion agenda.”

the fo­rum said the agenda had man­i­fested in an eth­nic group dom­i­nat­ing the heads of the three arms of govern­ment, the lead­er­ship of all se­cu­rity agen­cies, fi­nance sec­tor and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

the lead­ers said ap­point­ments were be­ing made “in a man­ner sug­ges­tive of a re­hash of the plan­ning stage of the geno­cide against the tut­sis by the Hu­tus in the Rwanda war.”

the po­si­tion of the fo­rum was con­tained in a com­mu­nique is­sued at the end of the SMBLF meet­ing in Abuja on Mon­day, af­ter an ex­haus­tive de­lib­er­a­tion on the state of the coun­try 50 years af­ter the civil war.

the meet­ing was presided over by the Pan Niger Delta

Fo­rum’s leader, Chief Ed­win Clark. He was sup­ported by Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Ade­banjo; Pres­i­dent-gen­eral of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo; and Pres­i­dent of the Mid­dle Belt Fo­rum, Dr Pogu Bitrus.

the com­mu­nique was signed by the fo­rum’s cospokespe­r­sons, Yinka Odu­makin (South-west); Gen. C. iherike (South-east); Sen­a­tor Bassey Hen­shaw (South-south); and Dr. isuwa Dogo (Mid­dle Belt).

the com­mu­nique read, “the meet­ing ob­served with sad­ness that Nige­ria to­day is un­der worse ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity of power than it was in 1967 when the first civil war oc­curred with un­bri­dled nepo­tism, sec­tion­al­ism and undis­guised marginal­i­sa­tion of ma­jor sec­tions of the coun­try in pur­suit of Fu­lani­sa­tion agenda.”

the fo­rum frowned on the visa-on-ar­rival pol­icy of the govern­ment, al­leg­ing that it was a ploy to fa­cil­i­tate the in­va­sion of the coun­try by for­eign herds­men.

the SMBLF fur­ther stated that the pol­icy was de­signed to change the de­mo­graphic com­po­si­tion of the na­tion with the at­ten­dant in­se­cu­rity by for­eign ter­ror­ists.

it said, “Meet­ing was not com­fort­able that 50 years af­ter the war, diplo­matic pro­to­cols and mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ments on move­ment of ci­ti­zens across bor­ders en­acted by Acts of Par­lia­ment are be­ing over­thrown by pres­i­den­tial procla­ma­tions to ob­vi­ously fa­cil­i­tate the in­va­sion of our coun­try by Fu­lani herds­men through the visa-less en­try to change the de­mo­graphic com­po­si­tion of Nige­ria.”

the SMBLF lauded Southwest gov­er­nors for set­ting up Op­er­a­tion Amotekun and called on other re­gions to em­u­late the move to pro­tect their peo­ple.

it also in­sisted on state polic­ing and ad­mon­ished the peo­ple to con­tinue ag­i­ta­tion for it as well as clam­our for the over­all re­struc­tur­ing of the coun­try.

the fo­rum said, “What is cur­rently on the ex­clu­sive list is polic­ing which is wrong un­der fed­er­al­ism as fed­er­at­ing units in this coun­try once had Na­tive Author­ity po­lice be­fore as is usual of mul­ti­level 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 group said it was dis­turbed by re­ports al­leg­ing that the Na­tional iden­tity Man­age­ment Com­mis­sion was reg­is­ter­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

it de­manded ex­pla­na­tions from the agency on this.

•L-R: Al­haji Al­has­san Dan­tata; Deputy Gov­er­nor, Kano State, Dr Nasiru Gawuna; Vice-pres­i­dent, Prof. Yemi Os­in­banjo; and Kano State Gov­er­nor, Ab­dul­lahi Gan­duje, dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of some projects in Kano State … on Tues­day. Photo: Kano State Govern­ment

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