Governor Ortom, right, and Ishaku
The umbrella body of the people of Middle Belt of Nigeria, the Middle Belt Forum, held a summit today, Monday, 16/7/2018, declaring that Nigeria needed to be restructured to ensure justice, equity, and inclusiveness.
The summit made the declaration against the backdrop of the herders-farmers’ crises that had led to the loss of lives and property.
Speaking at the summit which was held in Makurdi, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, called on the Federal Government to arrest members of the Miyetti Allah said to be behind the spate of killings in the country.
Ortom announced his exit from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, earlier in the day.
His words: “The government keeps talking about hate speech. Miyetti Allah has been guilty of hate speech, yet no one has been arrested. Until they are arrested we are not going to rest.
“As law abiding citizens we have decided to take them to court. Where the security agents have failed to give justice, the law will not fail us.”
He stressed that restructuring was the solution to the current problem of the Middle-Belt and Nigeria at large.
“Poverty has been long established with sustained violence in the Middle Belt. Properties have been destroyed. Over 180,000 have been displaced. Over 5,000 people are living in uncompleted buildings. We must find ways of addressing this humanitarian crisis and return these people to their homes.
“We have lost over N400 billion from January to June just in Benue State. For us to move forward, everyone must be protected as the law dictates. That is why we are calling for the restructuring of the country.”
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State who was part of the event also lent his voice to the call for the restructuring of Nigeria.
He emphasized the need for state police.
He said: “The question most people ask is why the Middle Belt Forum is getting together. I want to reiterate that the Middle Belt Forum had existed long ago but we haven’t been meeting. Due to the present happenings, we are beginning to come back together. The main reason is that our constitution has some faults.
“I will always say that this constitution was copied wrongly. Important aspects of this constitution from the US where it was copied were deleted. Let me give an example of one of it – security. In America, you have the federal police, the state police, and the local government police. What is beyond the local government police, the state police steps in. What is beyond the state police, the federal police comes in. And this is how it is being operated where we copied it from.
“I thank the Senate and House of Representatives for dusting the constitution and thinking of bringing back state police. That will go a long way in solving the problem of the continuous killing of innocent citizens,” he said.
Ishaku accused the Federal Government of not arresting those behind the killings in the Middle Belt.
According to him, the government had reduced corruption to the stealing of public funds alone.
“Stealing is not the only form of corruption. Killing is also corruption,” he said angrily.
He added: “You come into a farm, you meet a family of 10 sleeping and you slaughter all of them. What do you call that? Someone steals one million, you lock him up, someone kills people and he is free. I don’t know which is worse?”
• Source: The New Edition