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Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has called for an immediate end to the undocumented influx of Fulani from the whole world to communities across the central Nigeria.
The Forum also restated its preparedness to negotiate and renegotiate the position of the middle belt in the Nigeria state with apparently recognized power blocks like the Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo.
Speaking in Makurdi, the Benue State capital to herald the Forum’s Mega Rally and Conference billed to take place next week, Chairman, Local Organizing Committee for the event, Prof. Alloy Ihuah said the conference would help the middle belt search for the proper definition of its place and identity in the Nigerian political and economic structures.
Ihuah disclosed that the Mega Rally/Conference themed; Restructuring Nigeria and Awakening” would be an assembly of best intellectuals in the Middle Belt to interrogate the Nigerian structure in line with the principles and tenets of true federalism to ensure the survival of the country against the forces of division and discrimination.
“There is an increasing identity consciousness and awareness in Nigeria. The middle Belt is also experiencing this increasing consciousness and awareness. There is need to change the current political and security situation in the country. There is urgent need to change the herdsmen narrative to that of militias or terrorists deploying the janjaweed strategy.
“Our concerns regarding skewed and falsified census figures, discriminatory delineation of federal/state constituencies and discriminatory blockage to opportunities in education, national economy, appointments and promotion in public service must stop.”
The Forum also lamented what it described as the increased threat and forceful Islamisation, discrimination against Christian minorities in recruitments into the armed forces, other security agencies and para-military formations in the country.
“The Middle Belt Forum is guided by the consciousness to check the following: possibility of our identities being submerged under the Hausa/Fulani, gradual extinction of our languages and our cultures as well as gradual take-over of our lands and other natural endowments.