EHIME ALEX, Lagos
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of necessity, review and evolve new security measures in tackling the new waves of criminal attacks on communities in the country.
A statement signed by its National President, Dr Pogu Bitrus said in view of the recent brutal killings of no fewer that 30 persons and massive destruction of properties in Maiduguri by the Boko Haram.
According to the Forum, who lauded the disposition of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State, the protection of lives and property remains the prerogative of government, worrying that in a situation where safety of lives and property are not guaranteed, the essence of government has been utterly defeated.
On this light, the Forum pleaded with the Federal Government to ensure safety of lives and property of all citizens from the claws of terrorists whose activities have turned the country into a cynosure of both local and international horrors.
The statement read in part, “The leadership of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) is shocked at the recent brutal killings of no fewer than 30 persons, who were stranded along a military checkpoint in Auno, a suburb of Maiduguri, by Boko Haram elements which also resulted in massive destruction of vehicles and houses. Considering the incessant tragedies that have befallen the state, the present times are indeed trying for not only Borno state, but also Nigeria.
“More than anything, these attacks have clearly shown that the path to routing out these terrorists is not clearly on sight. As a Forum, we are impressed by the disposition of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum who has shown an unwavering devotion to the return of peace in a state that has become weary of terror attacks. Unlike his predecessors, Governor Zulum has demonstrated unprecedented zeal and devoutness in turning the tides against these terrorists that have denied peace to the state. Governor Zulum’s constant visits to scenes of attacks and collaboration with security agencies reveal his painstaking commitment to ending insurgencies and other forms of criminal activities in the state.
“As an umbrella organisation representing ethnic minorities in the Middle Belt Region, the Forum commiserates with the people of Borno state and hereby applaud the governor for his steadfast obligation to ending insurgence in the state. In an atmosphere devoid of the right leadership in tackling the present terror stalking our nation, Governor Zulum represents a metaphor for what is missing in evolving the right leadership needed to defeat the monster of terror devastating our communities. We call on him to remain irrevocably unswerving to aligning with relevant security agencies of government in order to eliminate terrorism in the state and the country in general. In this times of great sorrow, we pray to God to grant bereaved families of the victims the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses caused by these tragic events.
“The Forum is also encouraged by the promise made in Ethiopia by President Muhammadu Buhari that he would rescue all kidnapped girls abducted by Boko Haram. We recall both the Chibok and Dapchi incidents that have continued to evoke memories of grave insecurity on the minds of both the elderly and young. We urge President Buhari to walk his talk and ensure that no Nigerian is left behind in the dens of these terror groups. We look forward to the safe return of Leah Sharibu who has been left behind on account of her faith, just as the Forum waits in anxiety for the quick return of over 100 out of the over 270 Chibok girls that were unaccounted for when the insurgent group struck in 2014.
“The Forum notes with regret the recent booing of the President by Borno people when he visited Maiduguri to commiserate and condole with the state over the unfortunate incident. More than anything, the Forum views the action of the people as representing their growing disenchantment with government’s handling of the security challenges. We urge President Buhari to see the unfortunate incident as a wake-up call and do what is necessary.
“Beyond doubt, looking at the performance profile of the military in the fight against terror since 2015, there is need for President Buhari to review the nation’s security architecture with a view to injecting new ideas so as to wipe out these terror organisations that have turned daily living into a nightmare for many Nigerians.”