January 15, 2019

M-Belt Forum raises alert over renewed killings

M-Belt Forum raises alert over renewed killings

Mustapha Lawan Nasidi, the leader of the Shi’a Muslim community (C) stands over bodies of sect members at Madrasatul Fudiyya seminary in the northeast Nigerian town of Potiskum on on November 23, 2014. At least 15 people were killed and over 50 injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a ceremony marking Ashura, the annual commemoration of the killing of Husseyn, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed. Six other people were killed when soldiers opend fire on the mourners fleeing the scene, according to a shiite cleric and witnesses. AFP PHOTO

The leadership of Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has said it agreed with the report of Amnesty International, AI, on the unrestrained mass killings in the Middle Belt, raising an alarm over fresh killings in the region.

Women mourning the killings in Jos

National President of MBF, Dr Pogu Bitrus, particularly commended Amnesty International for condemning the Nigerian military for its inactivity that has promoted these massacre.

Bitrus, who alleged cover-up of renewed killings in the Middle Belt, said: “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has again been drawn to the new wave of killings in Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt region.

“The Amnesty International had in November 2018 condemned the Nigerian military for not doing enough in combating the unprecedented killings arising from herdsmen/farmers’ crises that have claimed no less than 1,800 lives.

“These bloodbaths seem to be a tip of an iceberg as media report in December 2018, put the total number of deaths across the country at 5,113 lives within 11 months of last year.

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“Considering the escalation of killings in the Middle Belt region, which has largely been unreported by a large segment of the media, the MBF is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the federal and state governments are turning a blind eye to these ethnic killings in order to promote ambitions of some top politicians opposed to the interest of the Middle Belt people.”

“It is on this basis that the MBF condemns government’s insensitivity to the ongoing bloodshed that has turned the Middle Belt region into a silent mass grave and denied victims of these attacks  funds and international support for rebuilding their lives.

“It is tragic that Nigeria is witnessing some of her worst times in terms of insecurity under the present administration. The current resurgence of Boko Haram’s activities     in the North-east and the ongoing displacement of Middle Belt people reflect the determination of these terrorists to unleash bloodshed on the people of the Middle Belt region.

“The MBF is particularly drawn to the Amnesty International report entitles, ‘Harvest of Death: three years of bloody clashes between farmers and herders in Nigeria’.

“The MBF agrees with the content of the report that details the devastating footprints of the Fulani terrorists who are yet to be brought to book. From Plateau to Adamawa; Benue to Kaduna; these states, among others, are enmeshed in unimaginable bloodshed that has left trails of tragedies.

“In Plateau Benue states, not only were several villages and towns decimated, the invading herdsmen are now occupying these towns and villages, while survivors of these human carnage have been left to languish in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps without support from governments or international organisations.

“The MBF categorically identified with the report of the Amnesty International on the unrestrained mass killings in the Middle Belt region perpetrated under the watch of the Nigerian military.

“The MBF commend the Amnesty International for carpeting the military over its deliberate refusal to arrest the perpetrator of these killings.

“What is happening to the Middle Belt people is not only a deliberate ploy by criminal herdsmen to seize large swathes of land belonging to ethnic nationalities; it is a strategic warfare being waged against the people to prosecute a systemic ethnic cleansing campaign.

“The MBF recalls the endorsement President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, whose membership has claimed responsibility for most of these attacks.

“By refusing to arrest them and make them face prosecution, the MBF is convinced that MACBAN and the current administration are collaborating to foist a reign of terror on the people of the Middle Belt region.

“The MBF commends the Amnesty International for condemning the Nigerian military for its inactivity that has promoted these massacres. The MBF calls on President Buhari to bring perpetrators of these unprecedented genocides to book.”