Southern-Middle Belt Forum Welcomes Recognition Of June 12
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has welcomed the recognition of June 12 as the Democracy Day and the honoring of the winner of the freest and fairest elections in the history of Nigeria by President Mohammed Buhari. The group, in a media briefing yesterday, said “while we of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum welcome the decision to accord June 12 its rightful place in history, we hasten to say that the gesture would truly count when we begin to re-enact the true spirit of June 12 by holding free, fair and peaceful election as a norm and not accidental occurrence in our country. “We salute all patriotic individuals and organizations who made tremendous sacrifices on the issue of June 12 over the years just as we pray for the repose of the souls of Bashorun MKO Abiola and all mama’s of June 12.Their sacrifices shall never be in vain.” Speaking on the current political situation in the coubtry, the Forum, in the speech read by Air Commodore Nkanga Idongesit said “we are worried about the latest overheating of the polity as politics continues to overshadow governance in our country with its attendant national embarrassment as professionalism is fast becoming alien in many of our public institutions. While we recognize and defend the right of the police to investigate crimes and interrogate anyone linked to such no matter their status, we are miffed at the conduct of the police throwing professionalism overboard by conducting media trial of the Senate President and a sitting Governor without having proper investigation of serious criminal allegations. The police makes itself a butt of practical joke when it flip-flops making three different statements within 72 hours on one case. First, it summoned via media, next it withdrew the summon and ask for a written response within 48 hours, and then restates the summon all over again. No serious police behave like this anywhere in the world. The police itself admitted that investigations were pending and that it had not even presented the allegations to those they publicly announced were suspects linked to the act. “We have also noted the resolutions issued at the end of a joint executive session of both chambers of the National Assembly on the state of the nation calling on the president to take majors steps to stop the killings going on across Nigeria and protect the lives of our citizens”. The Forum, which rejected directivr on anti-grazing bill, said “the shielding of Fulani killer-herdsmen remains the strongest flashpoint of invitation to chaos and anarchy in our country as people would not continue to fold their arms forever as they are being killed with government unwilling to lift a finger in their defense. We demand the immediate withdrawal of this obnoxious directive and for the Federal government to stop the killings going on and promptly arrest those behind the killings so far for mediate prosecution.” On 2019 elections, the Forum said “as we move towards the 2019 elections, there are accumulated indications that there are efforts to manipulate the result in forth coming election rig the elections which Nigerians must be vigilant to and thwart. Apart from keeping the current Service Chiefs who ought to have retired, retaining them in conjunction with the choice of INEC chairman is very suspicious, and in tandem with the narrative that they are poised to play partisan roles in favour of the incumbent. We have fears that the Independent National Electoral Commission may not be able to deliver free and fair election as the bug of nepotism and sectionalism that this administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the commission .” The Forum also demanded for the release of Leah Sharibu, one of the abducted Dapchi girls who remains in the captivity of Boko Haram and the remaining Chibok girls still in the custody of Boko Haram.