The Middle Belt Forum has condemned an alleged attempt to block food items from being transported from Northern Nigeria to the South, describing such as a criminal act.
In a statement signed by Pogu Bitrus, its national president on Friday, the group called on the Nigerian government to address the issue which it described as capable of throwing the entire nation into chaos.
It partly read, “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum has been drawn to a video clip showing the illegal blocking of food items to the South from the North at a Jebba village in Niger State by some yet-to-be identified persons. We are not only stunned by this act which we believe is orchestrated by some unpatriotic elements, but also shocked at this despicable action.
“The Forum wishes to categorically state that as an organisation that represents ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt Region, we are irrevocably opposed to such an act which we believe is capable of creating a rift and widening the fragility of our corporate existence.
“For such persons to block food items being transported to the South from the North is not only criminal, but also intended to throw the entire nation into chaos. We call on the Federal Government and other relevant security agencies to flush out these hooligans in order to discourage retaliation from the southern part.”
The Forum also described the act as “nothing short of waging another form of terrorism on Nigerians” amidst the ongoing banditry in various parts of the country.
It stated further, “We cannot as a nation afford to deal with these urchins and bandits with kid gloves. The Federal Government needs to do something drastic to send clear signals that outlaws who threaten the country would never have it easy with the government. If we must take back our nation from these demons of destruction, we must never negotiate and treat them softly.”
The Middle Belt Forum reiterated its belief in restructuring, stating that this will give ethnic nationalities in the Nigeria a space to develop and fully realise their potential.
The group also said all forms of aggressive tendencies must be avoided to resist enthroning victory for unpatriotic elements, stressing that what is needed is the obliteration of those fuelling separatist agenda.
“If some elements should block the transportation of petroleum products to the North from the South as retaliatory measures, what likely consequences would this have on our nation?" it queried.
“Nigeria is passing through one of its darkest periods. The best way out is not to allow lawless brigands to take over our country but to unite against the common foes that are out to throw our country into the abyss of destruction. For the avoidance of doubt, we believe in a United Nigeria that is founded on inclusivity and not exclusivity.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should rise up now and bring these lawbreakers and bandits to justice. Anything short of this will amount to patting these blood-thirsty terror gangs (on the back).”