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‘Halt slide to anarchy for June 12 recognition to count’

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/ AFP PHOTO / BOUREIMA HAMA

Position of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum on state of the nation

In the midst of the euphoria generated by the recognition of June 12 as the Democracy Day and the honoring of the winner of the freest and fairest elections in the history of Nigeria we, of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum welcomes the decision to accord the day its rightful place in history.

We hasten to say that the gesture would truly count when we begin to re-enact the true spirit of June 12 by holding free, fair and peaceful election as a norm and not accidental occurrence in our country.

We salute all patriotic individuals and organizations who made tremendous sacrifices on the issue of June 12 over the years just as we pray for the reprise of the souls of Bashorun MKO Abiola and all martyrs of June 12. Their sacrifices shall never be in vain. 
 
We are worried about the latest overheating of the polity as politics continues to overshadow governance in our country with its attendant national embarrassment as professionalism is fast becoming alien in many of our public institutions.

The latest in the serial assaults on decency in public affairs is the audacious refusal of the police to submit to civil authority and the elastic tolerance of the growing impunity of its Inspector General.

It is on record that the IGP has defied the authority of the President when he refused to relocate to Benue State to restore law and order.

Since the President confessed that IGP ignored his directive, there has been no evidence of his compliance with the order and no sanction has been imposed on him for this.

It is little wonder that the Nigerian police under him has become accumulated indication of a source of anarchy in the land.

We have not forgotten how the police spokesman, taking a cue from his boss, declared a state governor “a drowning man” and how the IGP has flagrantly refused to honor the Nigeria’s Senate invitation to explain why the authority has not been able to stop killings going on across the country and bring killers to book.

 
We have also studied the 12-point resolutions issued at the end of a joint executive session of both chambers of the National Assembly on the state of the nation and we consider them patriotic demands on the presidency at a time the country’s neck is between the sword and the block.

There is no patriot who would want the wanton killings that have become daily occurrence to continue unhinged.
 
Another flashpoint of anarchy is the growing intolerance of government to patriots who express contrary views to the misdeeds of government with strong-arm tactics.

The harassments that came the way of Lt. Gen T.Y Danjuma after he exposed the collision of military personnel with killer herdsmen readily come to mind as a measure of the burgeoning culture of tyranny in the country.

In a similar vein, our attention has also been drawn to allegation of attempt by the Federal Government to clamp former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in order to curtail his freedom, for holding contrary political views against President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

If this allegation is found to be true, it will amount to a throwback to the unfortunate days of the Military regime of late General Sanni Abacha where persons who held and canvassed contrary political views were dealt with in a Gestapo manner.
 
We also view the recent insensitive and provocative decision of the Kaduna State government to convert all chiefdoms in the state to Emirates as another potential source of anarchy if not quickly nipped in the bud.

This attempt in internal colonialism is bound to lead to conflicts and acrimony and it should therefore be shelved immediately in the interest of peace and tranquility.

Directive on Anti-Grazing Law  

In one of the loudest encouragements given to killer Fulani herdsmen yet again in Abuja last Tuesday after a meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin and some defence chiefs, the Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan- Ali called for suspension of anti-grazing law in states where it has been passed and operational in some states, saying the suspension of the law would reduce the tension in states where herders clash with farmers. 

The Defence Minister has always defended and shielded the herdsmen against arrests and prosecution in what has become a cardinal program of this government and which has heightened the fear of conflict of interest between the constitutional role of the President to defend the lives of property of all Nigerians and his self-assigned duty of being the Grand Patron of Miyetti Allah.

We ask for the rejig of the security architecture of the country to reflect the diversities, sensitivities and sensibilities within the polity.

The current situation where 16 out of the 17 Service Chiefs are from a section is not healthy for inclusivity in a multi-ethnic state.

Demand for removal of INEC boss

As we move towards the 2019 elections, there are accumulated indications that there are efforts to rig the elections, which Nigerians must be vigilant to and thwart.

Apart from keeping the current Service Chiefs who ought to have retired for inexplicable reasons, we have fears that the Independent National Electoral Commission may not be able to deliver free and fair election as the bug of nepotism and sectionalism that this administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the commission.

From 1960 till date only President Muhammadu Buhari has been audacious to pick only people who are either his relation or of the same ethnic stock with him to lead the electoral body.

We therefore strongly demand the replacement of the INEC chairman with a man/woman of integrity from another zone in order to restore public confidence in the electoral body as it prepares for the 2019 elections.

Leah Sharibu and the Chibok girls

We are not happy that Leah Sharibu, one of the abducted Dapchi girls had remained in the captivity of Boko Haram due to her refusal to renounce her Christian Faith.

We recall that the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed told the country that there were negotiations between the government and Boko Haram that led to the release of the other girls.

We challenge the Federal Government to release the contents of the negotiations and explain to us why Leah was negotiated out. We demand the immediate release of Leah and the remaining Chibok girls still in the custody of Boko Haram.


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