Again, Middle Belt Forum Kicks against

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Re-introduction of Inland Water Ways Bill

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) yesterday urged its representatives in the National Assembly to resist and reject any attempt to re-introduce the Inland Water Ways Bill in the ninth National Assembly.

President of MBF, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, made the call in Abuja at a one-day conference on ethnic nationalities.

The conference, which had its theme as “Reawakening” was organised by the leadership of MBF.

Bitrus said that the call on MBF members in the national assembly to resist the bill was hinged on increasing subjugation of the people of middle belt in the country.

According to him, the bill seeks to take away all river ways from the state governments control to federal government control.

Bitrus said that the bill was drafted to take away ancestral lands in middle belt for the exclusive use of the federal government.

He said that the people of the zone were so lucky that the eighth National Assembly had refused to pass the bill.

He also said that the MBF was saddened by reports of killings of people by other middle belt residents of Taraba.

“We appeal to both Tiv and Jukun brothers of Taraba to embrace peace irrespective of the provocation and previous losses incurred.

“We must resist external influences aimed at dividing and weakening us,’’ he said.

He noted that the farming communities in Taraba should be allowed to embark on their farming activities for the production of staple food in the region and Nigeria in general.

He said that the killings in the region had continued to bedevil the region in spite of the presence of security agencies.

He also said that there was an urgent need for security agencies to effect real change on their strategies of curbing insecurity.

The Director, League for Human Rights, a non-governmental organisation, Dr. Nankin Bagudu, in his presentation, said that leaders in the region ought to agree on forming a common front to fight inequality and injustice.

Former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, also decried the killings of people in the region and other parts the country.