By Naomi Douglas
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has kicked against Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State for what the group described as his use of “negative identity politics” which has led to series of crises and killings in the state.
It also berates the unending killings of innocent people of Middle Belt by suspected herdsmen, especially the killings of traditional rulers in recent times.
In a communiqué signed by Dr. Pogu Bitrus, the president of the forum and Mark Jacob, Esq, Chairman of the planning committee, after its extra-ordinary National Executive Committee at Akwanga, Nasarawa State, from 8th – 9th November 2018, MBF reviewed the state of the nation and took far-reaching positions.
According to the communiqué, “Delegates expressed concerns on the use of negative identity politics by Governor Nasir El-Rufai to divide the people by his habitual attempt to incite hatred by his actions or inaction.
“Whether it is his targeted persecution of the Shiites or his recent appointment of a Muslim running in a Muslim – Muslim gubernatorial ticket in Kaduna state APC, a common thread that runs through these actions is the attempt to pitch groups against one another for the narrow selfish objective of Governor El-Rufai even if the state burns”, it stated.
Also, the group noted with grief the “unfortunate demise of two traditional rulers in Nasarawa State in the last two weeks, namely, the traditional rulers of Awe and Nasarawa Toto and send condolences to the people of Nasarawa State”.
Members of the group were also appalled by the abduction and subsequent gruesome murder of Agom Adara, His Royal Highness, Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima, after a meeting with Governor El-Rufai, which they linked to the monarch’s stance against “the objectionable, discriminatory and retrogressive policies of the administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna”.
Delegates at the meeting decried the sustained onslaught on the peoples of the Middle Belt from Benue to Adamawa to Nasarawa to Plateau to Borno to Taraba to Southern Kaduna, among others, by Fulani militiamen, lamenting that “it has been a tale of unmitigated woes as murder, rape, arson, abduction and other criminal attacks have become the new norm in the Middle Belt without the government doing anything to protect the people, but has rather arrested, tortured, maimed or even killed the victims claiming that they are perpetrators”.
It therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to “immediately set up a Commission of Enquiry into the cause(s) of the unending killings in Kaduna State over time, and the alleged show of partiality by the State Government in tackling the internecine crises, particularly as majority of the people believe that El-Rufai’s dangerous religious and other identity manipulation”.