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Southern, Middle Belt leaders express concern over insecurity

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The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum yesterday deplored the alleged conspiracy of the security forces in the reported invasion of their settlements by teenagers from the northern part of the country “hidden in containers and trailers in spite of the ban on inter-state movements by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

In a statement signed by Chief Edwin Clark for the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF); Chief Olu Adebanjo of Afenifere, Chief John Nnia Nwodo for Ohanaeze, and Dr. Bitrus Porgu on behalf of the Middle Belt Congress, the leaders described the incident as an “ominous development that is coming after Boko Haram threatened openly three weeks ago that they were going to take their battle against Nigeria to the South East and South South.”

The forum said the situation was worrisome “in view of the quietness of the national security organisations, the national COVID-19 committee and the presidency since the story broke out.”

The elder statesmen asserted: “This development has brought about very strong suspicions among our people regarding the aim of the deployment of these young men.

“Their capacity to escape all border security checks until they reached many states in the South and Middle Belt points to a strong collaboration. God forbid that the Boko Haram threat is being surreptitiously executed.”

They, however, vowed not fold their arms and “allow massive influx of youths who have no reason to flout extant laws on inter-state movements, no pressing national engagement in our areas, no verifiable occupation, no tests for COVID-19 and no pre-arranged accommodation to come and forcibly occupy our forests and perhaps prosecute the threat of the Boko Haram (sect).”

The leaders went on: “The manoeuvres appear deliberately planned and provocative. We will resist any threats of/to invasion and the security of our lives and property with every self-help available to us.

“To avoid further descent, we call on the Federal Government to publicly declare this invasion illegal, direct our national security organisations to flush them out now, and ensure that they do not return.”


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