By Emma Okereh
Leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum are outraged at 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 inter-state movements by the President, the Northern Governors Forum and all the governors in the South and Middle Belt.
A statement signed by the leaders of the forum, called on the federal government to declare the invasion illegal and direct security agencies to repatriate them. The statement which was signed by Chief E. K. Clark for PANDEF, Chief Olu Adebanjo for Afenifere, Chief John Nnia Nwodo for Ohaneze and Dr Bitrus Porgu for The Middle Belt Congress also warned that they would resist any threats of invasion and the security of lives and property of the regions with every amount of self-help available to them.
According to the forum, “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.’’
The statement while describing the complacency of the security agencies as very worrisome, noted that “this development is the quietness 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.
“We will certainly not fold our 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.
“The silence of the Federal government in this situation is ominous. The manoeuvres 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.
“Not too long ago General Danjuma warned us to be ready for self-help. 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.”