Leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has said that the silence of the federal government amidst influx of Almajiris to the Southern and North Central regions of the country was ominous.
In a statement signed by Edwin Clark (Pandef), Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere), John Nwodo (Ohanaeze Ndigbo) and Dr. Bitrus Pogu (Middle Belt Forum), the Forum expressed concerns at the complacency of security agents in allowing the Almajiris enter their regions despite a ban on interstate movements by President Muhammadu Buhari.
They vowed to resist attempts to relocate Almajiris from the core northern states to the two regions.
“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. Very worrisome in 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 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 and nearly the whole country points to a strong collaboration. SMBLF asks all Nigerians at the receiving end to be vigilant.
“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 maneuvers 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 Organisations to flush them out now and ensure that they do not return. We need to be reassured there is a government here.
“Not too long ago General Theophilus Danjuma warned us to be ready for self – help. We hope that his predictions have not become inevitable and that our country 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. How can we endure sporadic killings in the hands of herdsmen in ‘normal’ times and Almajirai invasion under pandemic? ” the forum said.