Southern, Middle Belt leaders root for equitable federal system
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has enjoined the Presidency and the National Assembly to initiate moves towards enthroning a federal system where equity, justice, peace, welfare and fundamental human rights are guaranteed.
Noting that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his independence anniversary broadcast admitted to the legitimacy of the demand for the restructuring of the country, the forum, however, urged that the conviction should be given a fillip through the legal instruments of the National Assembly and representatives of all the ethnic nationalities.
A communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Abuja and read by elder statesman, John Dara, said it remains convinced that as a multi-ethnic nation, Nigeria could only enjoy lasting peace, development and happiness under a federal system which allows all the federating units to develop at their pace.
The forum insisted that Nigeria, as it were, was not a true federation due to its alleged over-centralised, unjust and anti-development structure.It reads in part: “There is no gainsaying that this is at the core of the many agitations across the country with some delving into separatist feelings.
“Nigeria must, therefore, be grateful to those of us speaking in demand of restructuring of the federation for the restoration of the federal principles enshrined in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions as a middle course between those who want to sustain the present unjust structure that is driving the nation into the edge and consequently, attracting agitations for its breakup.”
The forum regretted that the National Assembly voted down devolution of powers during debates in the chambers. It also deplored recent developments in the South East, especially the deployment of army to rein in the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It frowned on the avoidable deaths that came with the military operations.The forum rejected what it described as, “the hasty tagging of IPOB as a terrorist organisation in the face of contrary evidence.”
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