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The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), a sociopolitical group protecting the interest of the Middle Belt people, has said it is not a party to the formation of a northern security outfit called Operation Shege ka-Fasa by Coalition of Northern Group.
MBF said the aim of the group behind the initiative was to provoke reaction, explaining that the decision had nobody’s authority, just as the Association of Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOMBEN) described members of the group behind the security outfit as “clowns” and called for their arrest.
The national president of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu, said the northern group was on its own as far as security in the North was concerned, adding that it had no mandate for such outfit without the permission of the governors and other major stakeholders in the North.
Said Pogu: “The claim of the group is not genuine. It simply wants to provoke reaction. I have not seen any governor or anybody key into it. So far, you can see different governors within the Middle Belt are thinking of community policing.
“The term Shege ka-Fasa is purely a Hausa expression. They just want to challenge the South-West which introduced Operation Amotekun, but I don’t think it has the backing of anybody. They are just floating. Anybody can just get uniforms, stickers and do propaganda. I believe that is what is happening”.
He disclosed that the forum was working towards convincing the governors in the Middle Belt to have an outfit that would stand as the first line of defence against attack by the terrorists, adding that the major position of the forum was restructuring that would lead to the formation of the state and local government police.
Claimed he: “To us, Amotekun is a stop gap that would lead to the creation of state police. Recently, some policemen deployed with helicopter were able to root out bandits from their hideouts in Kaduna State. If the police can do that, what stops the military with their hardware from dislodging the Boko Haram sect? They just don’t want to do it”.
In its reaction, ASOMBEN, through its national secretary, Reverend James Pam, said it was abnormal to compare the security outfit with Amotekun in the South-West region.
Said the group: “Amotekun was a creation of the governors with the backing and support of the people. This Shege ka-Fasa doesn’t have anybody’s authority. Who are they speaking for? When they said North, are they talking of the North-East, the North-West or the North-Central because the old North is dead. They have no authority to speak for the North; they did not consult the governors.
“There is a Northern Governors Forum which is being chaired by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State. I don’t think the group informed the governors. Even the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar recently came out to denounce the group, meaning they did not consult him as well.
“The name itself is obnoxious. They were childish and unserious. We condemn the outfit and those behind it in totality. They cannot speak for us. It is the same group in 2017 which said the Igbo should leave the North. Governor el-Rufai ordered their arrest, but nothing was done.
“That group should be disbanded. Its activities are inimical to peaceful coexistence in Nigeria. Who is their sponsor? They should be exposed. We saw them use Arewa House in Kaduna. They don’t just approve the use of the House anyhow. We saw them with brand new vehicles, who bought them? Who is sponsoring all these? The Inspector General of Police should order their arrest to avoid a breakdown of law and order”.
Meanwhile, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is billed to meet in Kaduna today over Operation Shege ka-Fasa and to deliberate on the insecurity in the northern part of the country and Nigeria as a whole.
A source close to the forum who disclosed this to Sunday Tribune said the forum was highly disturbed by the spate of killings occasioned by banditry, kidnapping, activities of Boko Haram and other crimes in the North.