South, Middle Belt Leaders Urge Vigilance over Influx of Almajiris

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Edwin Clark

By Chuks Okocha

Leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum have expressed shock and outrage at the complacency of the Nigerian security forces at the invasion of their areas by teenagers from the northern part of Nigeria, hidden in containers and trailers, in spite of the ban on interstate movements by President Muhammadu Buhari, Northern Governors Forum and governors in the South and Middle Belt.

In a statement signed by Chief Edwin Clark for Pan Niger Delta Forum (Pandef), Chief Olu Adebanjo for Afenifere, Chief John Nnia Nwodo for Ohaneze and Dr Bitrus Porgu for The Middle Belt Congress, they described the influx as “ominous development”, that is coming after Boko Haram threatened openly three weeks ago, that they were going to take their battle against Nigeria to the South East and South South.

The leaders of these Pan Nigerian leadership forum said that this was very worrisome development in view of the quietness of the national security organizations, the national Covid-19 committee and the presidency since the story broke out.

Accordingly, they said, “This development has brought about very strong suspicions amongst our people regarding the aim of the deployment of these young men.

“Their capacity to escape all border security checks until they reach many States in the South and Middle Belt points to a strong collaboration. God forbid that the Boko Haram threat is being surreptitiously executed.”

The leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt leaders said that they will certainly not fold their arms and “allow massive influx of youths who have no reason to flout extant laws on interstate movements, no pressing national engagement in our areas, no verifiable occupation, no tests for Covid-19 and no pre-arranged accommodation to come and forcibly occupy our forests and perhaps prosecute the threat of Boko Haram.”

They also expressed their shock on the silence of the federal government, describing it as is “ominous”.

According to them, “The maneuvers appear deliberately planned and provocative. We will resist any threats of invasion and the security of our lives and property with every amount of self help available to us.

“To avoid further descent to an uncontrollable situation, we call on the Federal government to publicly declare this invasion illegal, direct our National Security Organizations to flush them out now and ensure that they do not return.”

They recalled that not too long ago, General Theophilus Danjuma warned Southerners and Middle Belt to be ready for self help.

Accordingly, they asked, “We hope that his predictions have not become inevitable and that our nation can be saved a slide into lawlessness and its disastrous consequences. A stitch in time saves nine! We call on our people to be vigilant”.