By Peter Duru
Makurdi – The aircraft conveying leaders of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Monday afternoon, was denied landing permit at the Makurdi airport by the Air Force authorities, where they had scheduled to attend the Middle Belt Conference.
This was disclosed by a former National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, chieftain, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (retired) while addressing the gathering.
Suleiman who publicly put a call to the leaders while addressing the gathering at the IBB Square in Makurdi, the Benue state capital cautioned that the leaders of the Middle Belt would not be cowed promising that the region would continue to work together to ensure safety and victory for the people of the region.
The retired senior air force officer said “despite challenges confronting the region, the Middle-Belt will remain united and continue to march forward to greatness.”
Continuing Suleiman said “there is need for Nigeria to be restructured to give way to fair sharing of resources because justice must be delivered to the people of the regions.
“Middle belters are not cowards. We shall March unto victory. Forward ever, backward never. We all must liberate the middle belt. This current nonsense must not be allowed to continue. We must strategize for a common front and we will get there.”
Speaking, Governor Darius Ishaku who attended the event appreciated the effort of the National Assembly for initiating a bill to establish state and local government police.
He faulted the provisions of the 1999 constitution which was drawn from USA noting that the US Constitution provides for local and state police but which was deliberately not incorporate in Nigerian Constitution.
He sued for accelerated attention and passage of the bill, stressing that If passed and subsequently signed into law it would go a long way to address the incessant killings in the country particularly in the Middle-Belt region.
He said “killing people is another form of corruption and the worst of it all. When one steals one million he is prosecuted but when some persons kill innocent people in their sleep they are allowed to walk free.
“This must stop. Nigeria is a great country but it is wasting away. Every state in Nigeria is a potential country of its own,” he added.
Despite there absence at the rally the southern leaders made their speech through a phone call and contributed to the theme of the conference themed, ‘Restructuring Nigeria and Reawakening”.
The Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said that people would resist any attempt to stop activities of middle belt forum.