The leadership of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, including Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Middle Belt and South South Forum, yesterday, stormed Makurdi, Benue State, urging President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, to embrace the call for the restructuring of the country to save it from imminent collapse.
The leaders, who were in the state to commiserate with Governor Samuel Ortom and the people over the killing of 73 indigenes by herdsmen on new year day, also declared their support for the open grazing prohibition law enacted by the state government.
They also urged other state governments to adopt the law in their various states to check the menace of herdsmen in the country, noting that it was the way to go. This came on a day Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, also called for restructuring of the country, declaring anybody opposed to it, including the Federal Government, as an enemy.
Speaking on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, the President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, noted that since military intervention in Nigerian politics, the Nigerian Constitution has become a huge fraud. He said: “I have never seen a country practice democracy and does not respect the voice of the people. We need to restructure Nigeria now or in the next seven years, Nigeria will be extinct. “Restructuring is a national imperative. How can we have a security council consisting of a people from a particular section of the country? It is not fair. Are we a conquered people? “I recall that the global terrorist index rated herdsmen as the fourth most dangerous terrorist group in the world but the federal government has continued to look the other way as they continue to wreak havoc in the country. Nigerians must rise and fight against tyranny in our land. “If politicians fail to address these issues and fail to restructure the country, a time will come when Nigerians will dance on their graves. The truth is that the people of Nigeria are tired of this country. “We must commend Governor Samuel Ortom for his uncommon courage in the face of adversity, he has shown that he is a civilian general.’’
On his part, the leader of Afenifere delegation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, urged all Nigerians to support the restructuring of the country to save it from collapse. He said: “The problem we are facing in Nigeria today was created by the Constitution the military imposed on us. “Anything it will take to get us out of this bondage, we will stand firmly with it because the matter is beyond politics. “If we go ahead to conduct any election in Nigeria without changing the Constitution that makes your president the most powerful man in the world, even more powerful than the president of America, we are finished. “We all want to be in Nigeria on terms imposed on us by every section of the country because it will be the people’s Constitution.” While lamenting the leadership style of President Buhari, Chief Adebanjo said: “l had warned Nigerians about President Buhari because he is not a democrat.’’ The elder statesman, who condemned the killings in Benue State, stated that herdsmen never believed that any other tribe existed in the country, describing the impression as regrettable.
South South Forum:
On his part, the leader of the South South Forum, Air Commodore Idongesit Ikanga, retd, warned that all was not well with the country, especially where the innocent were being killed. “We are totally behind Governor Ortom because the greater number of the soldiers that fought the civil war that kept this country united were from Benue. “What happened in the state has further strengthened the call for the restructuring of the country. “We are saying that there must be Nigeria but it must be a country where justice must prevail.”
Middle Belt Forum:
Also speaking, the leader of the Middle Belt Forum, Bala Takaya, said the bloodshed in Nigeria was getting too much. “We pray that the blood of those killed will not go in vain, it will cry for justice before the throne of grace and justice, the author of life. “What happened in Benue is nothing but an ethnic cleansing. How then can we describe a situation where evil forces will besiege the homes of innocent people and murder them in cold blood? “The events in the country at the moment have again brought to the fore, the need for the restructuring of the country in order to save Nigerians more pains and anguish.”