Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) said on Monday that it’s hearts bleed over the loss of lives in hundreds in Plateau State following terror attack visited on innocent souls by violent Fulani herdsmen.
The SMBLF declared that the forum was full of rage over what it termed “official irresponsibility the Presidency has displayed over this carnage” in many ways.
SMBLF said this in a communique it issued after its meeting at the weekend in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Lagos.
According to the communique signed by Yinka Odumakin for South- West, Senator Bassey Henshaw (South- South), Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South- East) and Isuwa Dogo (Middle- Belt), the leaders, while expressing rage over the loss of lives in hundreds in a manner they considered the most barbaric and cruel, decried the presidency’s first reaction, which they said amounted to seeing human lives as being inferior to those of cows.
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SMBLF noted that follow-up to that “insensitivity” was the declaration made in Jos, the Plateau State capital by President Muhammadu Buhari that the number of deaths in Zamfara was more than one that occurred in Benue and Plateau states put together.
It said this remark had made Nigerians, besides seeing such as sign of clear failure of leadership, to wonder if President Buhari was the “Statistical General of deaths” and not the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria, who should ensure deaths do not occur at all.
“Apart from the clear failure of leadership in a country that withdraws $1bn not appropriated to buy fighter jets but whose president asks citizens to pray to God to come and do the job of its Commander-in-Chief, we are full of rage over the official irresponsibility the Presidency has displayed over this carnage in the following ways:
“The Presidency first reaction as dead bodies were still being counted was some noxious narration of how the killings were caused by the missing of 100 cows without any form of regret over the deaths of hundreds of our citizens whose lives would appear to be inferior to those of cows in the estimation of highest authorities in the land.
“The follow-up to this ranking insensitivity was the declaration in Jos by Mr President that the number of deaths in Zamfara is more than Benue and Plateau put together making Nigerians to wonder if he was the Statistical General of deaths and not the commander-in-chief who should ensure deaths do not occur at all.
The leaders reiterated that all these poor attitudes put together were indications that the country had a “government totally drained of emotions” and one that sees the “deaths of Nigerians only in numbers.”
The leaders, however, expressed appreciation to the rest of the world, saying the country is consoled that in Nigeria’s darkest hours, the world did not turn its eyes away as evil marches over her soul.
“We have taken notes of the concerns expressed over the killings in Nigeria by Amnesty International, United Nations and the British Parliament.
President Donald Trump of America did also not mince words with President Buhari when he visited the US recently. We thank them all for not siding with murderers and terrorists even if the Nigerian authorities treat them with kid gloves,” the Forum said.
SMBLF, therefore, charges Nigerians not to give up, saying that evil was only doing overtime to beat them to submission, even as it reminded that the country’s history was replete with moments like it was currently passing through but which did not last forever.