Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has expressed shock over the recent decision of the northern food sellers and cattle dealers’ association preventing the members from transporting livestock and food from the north to the southern part of the country, describing it as gratuitous insult.
Last week, cattle and foodstuff dealers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, stopped supplies to the South following the federal government’s failure to meet their demands, which include payment of N475million compensation for destruction of lives and property during the #EndSARS protest and last month’s crisis in Shasha, Oyo State.
The Forum, in a statement issued yesterday and jointly signed by Mr. Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South-east), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), lamented that this is a group whose members have been committing nefarious activities and owning up to them without consequences.
It recalled that when the herdsmen admitted killing 78 people in Benue State in January, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari invited Governor Samuel Ortom to go and seek peaceful way to live with his killer neighbours.
The Forum said, ‘’We are appalled by the recent assault on the sensibilities of Non-Fulani Nigeria by food sellers and Cattle dealers association who were making outrageous financial demand as compensation from government. We are not unaware that the police that had not lifted a finger over the killing of Olufon of Ifon by herdsmen in broad daylight recently invited leaders of Ifon community to Abuja to come and explain missing cows.
‘’The clear absence of justice in Nigeria is a vital signal that will do the country in if we go on with this waywardness. We commend Middle Belt Forum for the good sense they showed in condemning the blockage even when the Nigerian rulers lost theirs during the taunt.’’