By Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha
Leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt parts of Nigeria have expressed shock and outrage at what they described as the complacency of the Nigerian security forces at the invasion of their areas by teenagers from far Northern Nigeria hidden in containers and trailers in spite of the ban of interstate movements by President Muhammadu Buhari , the Northern Governors Forum and all the Governors in the South and Middle Belt.
In a statement signed by 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 Forum, the leaders described the development as “ominous development,” especially as it 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 is very worrisome development in view of the silence of the National Security organisations, the National COVID-19 Committee and the Presidency since this story broke out.
“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 over this situation, describing it as is “ominous”.
According to them, “the maneuvers appear deliberately planned and provocative. We will resist any threats to our 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 Organisations to flush them out now and ensure that they do not return.”
They recalled that not too long ago a former Chief of Defence Staff , General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) had warned Southerners and Middle Belts 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”.