The Chairman of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Bala Takaya, has vowed that the people of North-central zone would not work with other parts of Northern Nigeria in next years general elections.
He said this is to ensure that the zone is recognised as an important region in the country.
Mr. Takaya stated this on Wednesday in Jos at a one-day summit tagged: “Political and Security Situation of Middle Belt: The need for roadmap.”
He said the recent handshake across the Niger by leaders of the South-south, South-east and South-west was a build-up to 2019 and reaction to insecurity in Nigeria, especially, in the North-central.
“The handshake across the Niger especially with South/South, South/East and South/West is to address salient issues affecting the zones. We are not standing aloof, we are working together in the struggle for equitable Nigeria through restructuring.
“Leaders from these regions of the country were received by the leadership of the Middle Belt in Benue State in solidarity with the people and government of Benue State over the recent killings. We have solid relationship and we are in support of what the Benue State governor is doing. He should not waver, attack on one is an attack on all.”
Mr. Takaya called on the youth of the geo-political zone to be more proactive and defend their God-given lands.
He said the zone is presently vulnerable to attacks by herdsmen because the youth are not united, adding there is the need for synergy among them to arrest the frequent attacks.
“Middle Belt youths must work together to overcome these challenges. The zone now is under the carpet. In some states, you have to be their surrogates to win elections in spite of your strength and population. If you win, it can be upturned but I believe all these can stop if our youths are united for common front.”
The National Leader of the Middle Belt Youth Forum, Emma Zopmal, condemned the recent spate of killings in the region and the “silence” of the federal government.
Mr. Zopmal urged the youth to protect themselves and their lands since the government had allegedly failed to protect them.
The keynote speaker at the conference and a former governorship aspirant in Kwara State, John Dara, also called for the unity of the zone and support for all its elected public office holders.
Mr. Dara said the youth should form a Middle Belt Frontier Force to defend their region from attacks from outside.
He said the youth should not wait till they are appointed to positions of authority but rise up and play their part and stop lamentation.