The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has turned down a call for participation to attend a security round-table conference unionized by a former military head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), regular for Minna, Niger State.
The round-table conference slated for July 29th and 30th 2019 is predicted to have in attendance heads of security forces and different notable Nigerians.
But the SMBLF, comprising pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere; Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Pan-Niger Delta Forum; and also the Middle Belt Forum, said it might not be a part of the event as a result of the Miyetti Allah cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria was invited to the meeting.
The regional leaders made this known in a statement co-signed by Chief Edwin Clark (PANDEF); Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere); Chief Nnia Nwodo (Ohanaeze); and Dr Bitrus Pogu (MBF) in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory on Sunday.
The statement read:
“We thank you for your interest in the affairs of our country which made us to accept your invitation in good faith.
“It was in the thick of our preparations for the journey that fuller details of the round-table came to our attention, some aspect of which has necessitated this last minute communication with you.
“We were comfortable up to that point until we saw the following: Gan Allah Fulani Development Association; Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.”
The statement further added:
“While we do not know the members of the first group, the lumping of Miyetti Allah, a trade association for cattle herders and whose members have been accused of various violations of rights, including life, across the country sends worrying signal to us.
“It falls into the categorization of our respected socio-cultural platforms with Miyetti Allah by Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu.
“We consider the above a grave insult to our bodies and our coming to a roundtable with the group would mean acquiescence to the narrative that put us in the same bracket with those wielding illegal AK-47 all over the country and inflicting terror on fellow citizens.”