April 20, 2024

Middle Belt Forum asks FG to recover farmlands occupied by armed terrorists

Residents flee as bandits kill 30 security volunteers in Niger

File image of bandits

By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos

The Middle Belt Journalists Forum, MBJF has expressed displeasure over the renewed killings in some communities in the region in the last few weeks and called on security agencies to save the Middle Belt region from the deadly attacks unleashed on the people.

The Forum particularly pointed out the continued killings in communities in Plateau, Benue and Kogi States and noted that the region has made enough sacrifices to keep the country together and must be appreciated and not be subjected to what is happening now.

According to a statement issued at the weekend and signed by Mark Mayah and Ladi Emmanuel, it’s National President
and National Secretary respectively, the duo stressed, “The Forum is utterly shocked at the renewed violence in parts of Plateau State during the week where students and members of a Community were mowed down by forces of evil.

“We call on the Military authorities and particularly the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Christopher Musa, the Service Chiefs, and the top echelon of security and defence formations in the country to save the Middle Belt region from the deadly attacks allegedly by armed marauding herdsmen who have laid siege on several communities in the region as exemplified by the killings in Plateau, Benue and Kogi States in recent time.

“The recurring incidents in the region to say the least, are most unfortunate, barbaric and tragic and those responsible for the attacks and killings must be tracked down and held accountable as the killings in the region have assumed a monumental proportion. The region which seems to be the sole target for these genocidal attacks has remained under the stranglehold of the killers for over two decades.

“The most recent of this genocide was the maiming and killing of no fewer than 50 innocent citizens in Bagana, Otutubatu, Iyade, Agbenema, Agojeju-Odo in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State; in Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State, 28 people were killed on April 17; in Mangu and Bokkos Local Government Areas of Plateau State over 17 people were killed, and in Plateau State University, Bokkos where some students were gunned down by the herdsmen/terrorists.”

They called on the Federal Government to “step up effort to end this act of continuous blood bath in the Middle Belt geopolitical zone,” because “the region has made enough sacrifices to keep this country together and must be appreciated than what is happening now.
It is wrong for anyone to label what is happening in the region as farmers/herdsmen conflict while in actual sense, it is ethnic cleansing to possess the ancestral land.

“We are also appealing to the Inspector General of Police, all the Service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser to swiftly intervene and thoroughly investigate the cause of the persistent killings. We seek humanitarian assistance for those displaced by the conflict. The Forum shares in the grief of the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incidents and calls on the people to be steadfast and cooperate with the security forces for the restoration of lasting peace. The MBJF demands the recovery of public schools, health care facilities and farmlands currently under occupation by these armed terrorists.”