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Southern, Middle Belt leaders slam Nigerian govt for failing to curb ‘Islamic extremism,’ terrorism

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The Southern and Middle Belt (SMBLF) leaders on Friday slammed the Federal Government for failing to curb the rising trend of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in the country.

In the communique at the end of their meeting in Abuja, the leaders decried the unrelenting killings and destruction of livelihoods in the Middle Belt region, particularly in Southern Kaduna, Southern Borno, Southern Gombe, Benue, Taraba, and other areas.

They also decried the federal government’s failure to fulfil its constitutional responsibility of protecting the citizens’ lives and property.

The communique was signed by former federal commissioner of information, Edwin Clark, the leader of the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, Middle Belt’s Pogu Bitrus, the President-General of the Igbo-socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, George Obiozor, and Emmanuel Essien of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).

The leaders also labelled the massacres and widespread acts of violence against indigenous people carried out by forces of Islamic extremism and terrorists as cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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The group warned that belligerence and purposeful efforts to eliminate indigenous populations in the Middle Belt are acts of aggression against the rest of Nigeria, and would not be permitted any longer.

The communique read: The Forum deplores the inhuman plight of the 1,700 indigenous people of Southern Kaduna driven out of their homes and have now become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) for over five years as well as several other Internally Displaced Persons in different parts of the country, left to live in conditions that impinge on their human rights as citizens of this country.

“Hence, calls on the Federal Government to, without delay, facilitate the return and reintegration of these Nigerians into their Communities,” while resolving “to resist, through all legitimate means, the barefaced attempts by religious fundamentalists to impose on the rest of us, a Nigeria of one country, different laws.”

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