The Oasis Reporters
February 26, 2018
A warning has been issued by the leaders of Southern and Middle Belt Forum in Abuja to the Federal Government of Nigeria not to be tempted into proclaiming a state of emergency in Benue State.
The meeting had in attendance Chief E. K. Clark, who led the South-South delegation; Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the South-West delegation; Chief John Nwodo, South-East, and Dr. Bala Takaya, Middle Belt.
They also called for the arrest and prosecution of culprits in the killings in Benue and other places at the meeting as well as reviewing events after its visit to Benue over the January 1 killings.
The leaders equally expressed regret that “President Muhammadu Buhari has not lived up to the expectations of his office by keeping mute on the killings, visiting neighbouring Nasarawa and Adamawa states, while ignoring Benue.”
In a communiqué issued by Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the forum said it was disturbed by the allegation that soldiers drafted to Benue State under Operation Cat Dance, were allegedly “circulating leaflets calling Tiv cattle rustlers, which clearly suggests that the operation is ostensibly meant to turn victims into villains and decimate their capacity for self-defence.”
In its resolution, the leaders called on President Buhari to “stop the killings in Benue and other parts of the country by disarming herdsmen and fishing out culprits for prosecution.”
It viewed with concern, the activities of some sponsored groups who are canvassing the idea of a state of emergency in the state and warned against any such plot as “such a move in the Western Region had dire consequences in the past.”
The forum also called for a probe into the statement credited to the Director General of Department of State Services, DSS, at the Senate security meeting that “sophisticated weapons being used by herdsmen are from the armouries of security agencies.”