South, Middle Belt leaders condemn Almajiri mass invasion of states
By Samuel Ogunsona
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, (SMBLF) have condemned what appears like the deliberate invasion of Southern and Middle Belt states by Almajiri and unemployed teenagers mainly from the core-Northern states.
The group in a statement received by Irohinoodua on Sunday express outrage at the complacency of the Presidency at the invasion of the teenagers from a section of Nigeria hidden in containers and trailers in large numbers in spite of the ban of interstate movements by the President, the Northern Governors Forum and the Nigerian Governors Forum.
SMBL is deeply concerned how the teenagers evaded several security roadblocks mounted in the long stretch across the North-South highways.
The statement was signed by Chief E K Clark,(PANDEF) Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere),Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Ohaneze),Dr Bitrus Pogu (The Middle Belt Forum)
The group said “What type of country do we we live in that the order of a President and laws in the country would be selectively obeyed or ignored totally by some citizens without consequences while others are under koboko to obey?
This ominous development 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.”
It described the silence of security organisations as worrisome.
SMBL berated the silence of the Presidency, the National Security organizations, the National Covid-19 Committee since this story broke out.
“This development has brought about very strong suspicions amongst 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 and nearly the whole country points to a strong collaboration. SMBLF asks all Nigerians at the receiving end to be vigilant,” the group said adding “God forbid that the Boko Haram threat is being surreptitiously executed.”
It said it would certainly not fold its arms and allow massive influx of youths who have no reason to flout extant laws on interstate movements, no pressing National engagement in Southern 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.”
The group said the silence of the Federal government in this situation is ominous.
“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 Organizations to flush them out NOW and ensure that they do not return. We need to be reassured there is a government here!”
It recalled not too long ago when former Defence Minister, General Danjuma warned the Middle Belt to be ready for self – help.
“We hope that his predictions have not become inevitable and that our country 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.
How can we endure sporadic killings in the hands of herdsmen in “normal” times and Almajiri invasion under pandemic?”