The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), yesterday, described the killings going on in the middle belt region as genocide and called on indigenes there to defend themselves any way they can.
Although they asked the indigenes to be organised in defending themselves, the forum charged state governors in the Middle Belt to urgently support communities in the region to train vigilante groups on ways of repelling external aggressions.
Declaring the region as theatres of an undeclared war, they asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately reconstitute the top echelon of the security forces, stressing that there is every reason to suspect that the security brass is unwilling or unable to protect them.
The President of MBF, Dr Pogu Bitrus, who made the call at a press conference in Abuja on the recent killings in Plateau State, added that they were finalising plans to make a formal petition to the international court of justice. He said they are still gathering evidence to file a formal petition over the killings.
While he stressed that they are not a political group, Bitrus, however, decried that the genocide has affected the voting strength of the region, which he listed to include: Southern Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Southern Borno and Plateau states.
Bitrus said, “To all communities in the Middle Belt: We call on the entire people of the Middle Belt to organize themselves in their communities to defend themselves and their property as the government has abdicated its responsibility to protect them.
“Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to life and nobody should be deprived of that right. The right to private self defence is constitutionally recognised to protect that right to life.”
On how he thinks they can protect themselves he said, “ How one will defend himself is ones prerogative. If you come to my house and I have a matchete I will defend myself with it. But the thing is you have to know how to defend yourself. I think it stops at that.”
On whether the self-defence call amounts to breakdown of law and order, he said the situation as it stands amount to anarchy, noting that security agencies who should protect people are not doing so, leaving people to resort to self help.
To all governors in the Middle Belt, he said “Governments of all states in the Middle Belt should as a matter of urgency support communities in the Middle Belt to train vigilante groups on ways of repelling external aggressions of the sort communities in our homelands have been subjected to in the last two decades.
“Governors of the states of the Middle Belt should urgently bring to the attention of the President, President Muhammadu Buhari, the need to bring to an end this undeclared war against the people of the Middle Belt as it has the potential of degenerating to a state of anarchy.”
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