By Chris Ochayi
Middle Belt Group May head to ICC, ECOWAS Court
ABUJA—Worried by the high rate at which ethnic nationalities are being cleansed by suspected herdsmen in the Middle Belt region, a socio-economic group, the Middle Belt Forum, MDF, said it is considering the option of taking the pogrom to the International Court of Justice, ICC, The Hague, to avert a repeat of the Rwandan genocide in Nigeria.
The forum, which expressed grave concerns over the ongoing killings of natives by herdsmen in the region, especially in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Plateau and Kogi states, regretted that the world is watching while the situation is gradually snowballing into another Rwanda. Speaking in Abuja, the President of Middle Belt forum, Dr. Bala Takaya, said the next line of action if the killings continue unabated might be to go to ICC, ECOWAS Court, or to other areas of redress.
According to him, “That is part of our dealings and I don’t think I have to go into detail as to what we are doing about that right now. But we are concerned that this thing is in public, worldwide, just like it happened in Rwanda, the world was watching and killings were going on until the whole thing came to a point where hundreds of thousands of lives were lost before the world woke up to realise that they could have done something to stop the killings in Rwanda.
And similarly, this is happening in Nigeria. “It started gradually in Rwanda. And it is starting gradually here in Nigeria. Probably, even at a higher speed in Nigeria. But the world is watching. Newspapers are reporting, you have embassies in Nigeria, of the metropolitan countries, I believe they are filing reports to their principals in their countries and the world is doing nothing. “Must we be wiped out like mosquitoes before they wake up and realise that our people have gone? That is the point that we are making. As to go to ICC, ECOWAS Court, or other areas of redress, leave that one for us; maybe it is next thing we will address.”
The Forum, however, blamed the ongoing pogrom and wanton destruction of lives and property of Middle Belt aborigines by Fulani herdsmen on lopsided appointments of security chiefs, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately restructure the security architecture to reflect the Federal character as stipulated in the Nigerian constitution. Dr. Takaya said the killer Fulani herdsmen are now a law onto themselves, adding, “They kill, maim and rape at will. They even brag that in this (Middle Belt) region they (the killer Fulani) have immunity that is superior even to those of our governors and their deputies.”
He continued: “As such, in the Middle Belt region, lives of human beings are now cheaper than those of cows. Hundreds of lives are being lost in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Southern Kaduna, Plateau and recently, Kogi State. There is virtually no part of the Middle Belt of Nigeria that is peaceful, making even feeding a major problem. On another side, we do not consider it amusing that the killer Fulani militias demonstrate their power or influence over this government by always choosing to strike as soon as the President rounds off a tour of the despoiled states with even greater viciousness.
“President Buhari should proscribe and declare Fulani herdsmen militia a terrorist organisation immediately. He should remember that even the Global Terrorist index Fulani herdsmen as the fourth most dangerous group in the world.’’