The inability of the South-east, South-west and South-south leaders to make the Makurdi summit, however, did not dampen the spirit of the conferees, who restated their call for the total restructuring of the country in order to correct some abnormalities that is stunting the growth and unity of the country.
Chairman of the Elders’ Forum of the Middle-Belt Forum, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd), restated the forum’s position at the rally, which held at the IBB Square in Makurdi.
He told his audience that the leaders of other socio-cultural groups, South-South Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and Afenifere were left stranded at the airport for five hours.
He said despite challenges confronting the region, the Middle-Belt would remain united and continue to march forward to greatness.
Suleiman said there was need for Nigeria to be restructured to give way to fair sharing of resources, insisting that justice must be delivered to the people of the region.
In his speech, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State commended the National Assembly for initiating a bill to establish state police.
He called for accelerated passage of the bill, which he said would go a long way to address the incessant killings in the country.
“Killing people is another form of corruption and the worst of it all. When one steals one million he is prosecuted but when some people kill innocent people in their sleep they are allowed to walk freely. 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 said.
In his address, Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore was still moving freely after calling for their arrest at several fora.
He reiterated the call for the arrest of the leadership of the association for being behind the killings in the state.
He said before the group commenced the killing of innocent people in the state they had threatened that if the state’s anti-open grazing and ranching law was not repealed they would unleash terror on Benue people.
“They had done that several times and killed scores of people. If they are not arrested we cannot rest nor stop crying. We have decided and taken them to court as law abiding people,” Ortom said.
Also speaking, Senator Barnabas Gemade enjoined all nationalities in the Middle Belt to stand their ground and work together as a people of same culture, race, irrespective of their language.