Southern and Middle Belt Leaders have called for a probe of the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Lawal Musa Daura, over his claim that that most of the sophisticated weapons in the hands of Fulani herdsmen are from the armouries of security agencies. The demand was made in a statement signed on behalf of the groups by Mr. Yinka Odumakin after a meeting of the groups in Abuja at the weekend.
At the meeting, the leaders concluded that President Muhammadu Buhari has not lived up to the expectations. They observed that the President has kept mute ovee the killings by herdsmen in Benue State and has visited Nasarawa and Adamawa states, while ignoring Benue State.
The leaders said they remain disturbed by the allegation that solders drafted to Benue State under "Operation Cat Dance" were circulating leaflets branding the Tiv cattle rustlers, an indication of an attempt to turn victims into villains and erode their capacity for self dedence. In addition, the meeting also expressed displeasure that Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Benue State
have been treated with discriminatory neglect compared to other IDP camps around the country.
As such, the meeting called on President Buhari to immediately stop the killings in Benue and other parts of the country by disarming all armed herdsmen carrying illegal weapons and fish out those behind killings for prosecution. It also warned against plans to impose emergency rule in Benue State, saying that a move in the defunct Western Region had dire consequences.
The meeting equally demanded an an end to open cattle grazing, saying ranching is the modern method. It warned all state governors in the South to reject cattle colonies.
The leaders also demanded an immediate remodeling of the country's security architecture, saying the current template on which 16 out of the 17 security chiefs are from a section of the country is a violation of the Federal Character principle. The meeting frowned at the culture of underage voters, which it said was rife in in the recent council election in Kano State, and demanded a judicial review of the current register of voters before new elections.
"Before further elections are held with the current INEC register, we demand a judicial probe of the voters registry by a panel to be headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge and members drawn from INEC-registered political parties, civil society groups and the National Democratic Institute for international representation," said the Southern and Middle Belt leaders.
The South-South delegation to the meeting was led by Mr. E K Clark, while Mr. Ayo Adebanjo led the South-West delegation. The South-East and Middle Belt contingents were led by Messrs. John Nwodo and Bala Takaya respectively.