Middle Belt Youth Council cautions Kwande, Unongo over hate speech

Alhaji Yahaya Kwande

The National Leadership of Middle Belt Youth Council, comprising over 400 ethnic nationalities, says it has lost confidence in former ambassador Yahaya Kwande and Paul Unongo.

Addressing a press conference yesterday evening, the group’s president, Emma Zopmal expressed dissatisfaction with the level of hate-filled speeches by some misguided groups of people, including government officials.

“Every parts of the country or group of people have the right to demand for what will protect the interest of its people. This trend of sad development came as a result of government’s failure to address some fundamental socio-economic, geographical and political issues challenging our common existence as a nation.

“Firstly, the Nigerian government has been so insensitive to the security threats of our people over the years. Ever since the killings of our people started by Fulani herdsmen, Federal Government of Nigeria has never set up a special security committee, to find a way of addressing this existential threat. It only focuses its attention on oil and gas revenue bases in the south and fulfills the political demands of the Arewas at all times.

“In this regard, the government has shown high level of discrimination against the Middle Belt people and also pretends nothing is happening here. We wish to remind our good friends from the South that they should remain focused on the fight for restructuring other than any cosmetic surgery to our national problem.”

He said the Middle Belt region will not take a step back on restructuring and will immediately usher in demand for referendum if the restructuring fails. “We know that the Arewas are comfortable with the present system because it benefits them more than any part of Nigeria. Therefore, they remain an obstacle to it instead of finding a common ground to find a lasting solution to this national problem. Their position has always been, We Say No to this and that in every national discourse. This is not in any way solving problems but making it worse.”

“We want to inform His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari that restructuring is not a decision of the Council of State or the National Assembly, but it is a people’s decision. The whole of the South, Middle Belt, and some progressive far Northerners are fully in support of it. It will even be a credit to Mr. President and APC’s government if they allow it to happen or else it will happen in spite of them.

“Similarly, we notice that of recent, Amb. Yahaya Kwande made an unruly statement on Middle Belt, which to the best of our knowledge and the country at large, we know that the Middle Belt is more than what he thinks. Possibly he was at Jupiter when Pastor David Lot, Joseph Sarwan Tarka, Gen. TY Danjuma, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman down to Solomon Daushep Lar of blessed memories of the deceased three, stood up for the interest of our people who have been oppressed and marginalized by the north in which he has been a partaker in the process.”

He assured Kwande that Middle Belt exists differently from the north and there is nothing like monolithic north, adding that, “We have lost him and elder Paul Unongo to the Arewas and they can never represent Middle Belt anywhere.”

According to him, “They have lost the script long ago and therefore they are not relevant in the Middle Belt not even among the Arewas. While they continue been the mere “winning tool,” we want to assure them that the “tool” cannot work on our generation.

“We urge the federal government to douse those tensions through dialogue not by using its might on dissenting voices like the IPOB and any other group. Dialogue should be the only way out. Dialogue does not mean cowardice or submitting its Sovereign powers but a way of engaging aggrieved parties with the system who have lost confidence and trust in it. Today may be IPOB; tomorrow may be another group worse than that.

“We also call on the Senior Special Adviser to the President, Garba Shehu, to immediately withdraw his statement on rodents taking over the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are not in a zoo that animals can live in the State House. This comment has brought national and international shame and embarrassment to our country.

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