Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Kick against Amnesty for Bandits

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Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), has berated Kaduna-based Muslim Cleric, Sheik Abubakar Gumi over his recent call on government to grant amnesty to bandits terrorising some states in the Northern part of the country.

The leaders in a statement jointly issued yesterday by Mr. Yinka Odumakin (South-west), Chief Guy Ikoku (South-east), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-south), and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), frowned at the statement made by the cleric during his appearance on a live television programme, asking for amnesty for bandits whom he said are fighting against the injustices Nigeria has done to the North.

The leaders argued that it is the Fulani and the core North that are doing pure injustice to the rest of the country.

It stressed that part of those injustices must have been electing President Muhammadu Buhari twice as President in spite of his scant regard for the sensitivity required of a multiple country like Nigeria.

The statement disclosed that the country for “almost six years has been soaking all manners of lopsidedness, nepotism”.

According to the leaders, as part of the injustices to the north, Fulani herdsmen have been killing people with reckless abandon in all parts of Nigeria with the administration defending them and giving them soft landing with the open bias of the president.

‘’Fulanis are daily pouring into Nigeria to change our demography and Nigeria is doing more in Niger Republic than Nigeria at the moment with resources from non-Fulani areas,” the statement added.

The leaders wondered if the injustices Nigeria has done to the North are so much that the bandits are doing what they are doing to the rest of the country, while Buhari is looking the other way.

“We want to know from Gumi if the Hausas are protesting the injustices Fulanis are doing to them and the rest of Nigeria or if it is Nigeria that is doing any injustice to the North.

The group insisted that the main injustice in Nigeria is what it described as the shrewd federalism that allows the North to be in almost total control of oil and mineral resources in the Niger Delta and the VAT from other parts of the country to
the disadvantage of host communities.

The southern and middle belt leaders cited the Nigeria Ports Authority in Lagos and most of the agencies in charge of oil and gas as some of those in control of the North, saying “This is one of the major reasons SMBLF is in court to challenge the lopsided arrangement.’