In a recent meeting held in Abuja, the Southern and Middle Belt Forum (SMBLF) expressed strong condemnation over the continued incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), by the Nigerian Government on treason charges.
Chaired by Chief Edwin Clark, the forum highlighted the potential ramifications of Kanu’s imprisonment on peace and security in the Southeast region.
Of equal concern to the SMBLF was the recent establishment of an ethnic militia by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore in Lafia, Nasarawa State. The forum warned against President Bola Tinubu’s administration condoning such actions, fearing it could prompt other ethnic groups to form their militias.
The communique issued by the forum emphasized the necessity of upholding the rule of law and respecting court rulings regarding Kanu’s case. It underscored the belief that releasing Kanu would be beneficial for the entire nation, as Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s leadership pledged to collaborate with him to restore peace in the region.
Additionally, the SMBLF decried the pervasive insecurity across Nigeria, citing states like Plateau, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, and even the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as increasingly dangerous areas to reside. The forum expressed incredulity at the ease with which criminal groups operate while security forces struggle to apprehend them.
In light of these challenges, the forum called for a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s security architecture, stressing the urgent need for greater federal government support for state and community policing initiatives nationwide.
Prominent figures present at the meeting included Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; Chief Ayo Adebanjo of Afenifere; Dr. Pogu Bitrus, National President of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF); and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, National Chairman of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF). The gathering also featured several elder statesmen, former governors, legislators, ministers, and other leaders from the Southern and Middle Belt regions.
In conclusion, the collective voice of these regional leaders underscores the urgent need for decisive action to address pressing security concerns and ensure justice and equity for all Nigerians.