A group, Middle Belt Recognisance has thrown its weight behind the several calls for the convening of a national conference to address the habitation issues in the nation.

In a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Sam Yarnap, and made available to atiterkula, the group condemned recent comments by leaders from the north suggesting that the middle belt has no independent identity, thereby tying the region to the apron strings of the far north.

The group alleged that the security situation in the country was a deliberate attempt to undermine President Goodluck Jonathan because he comes from the minority.

According to the group, no region in the country is superior to another adding that a national conference will avail the opportunity for all interests to be accommodated in the scheme of things.

The statement condemned the concept of the north as encompassing the central states of Nigeria, calling the idea, “anachronistic and irrelevant in contemporary context”.

According to them it is usually used by the northern elders to marginalise and deprive the region of its due.

It also called on tribes from the middle belt, to rise up to distinguish itself as an independent entity devoid of northern oppression and covering.

The group based its call on recent manipulation by persons and groups aimed at making the region look less important adding that, it has become pertinent to rise to the challenge.

” It is in recognition of the failed attempts by some persons to use manipulated privileges and statistics to portray us as insignificant and irrelevant in the scheme of things in this country that made us launch the powerful struggle against emasculation through the reawakening of the middle belt movement started, earlier by late senator Joseph Saarwuan Tarka,” the statement read in part.

Enumerating the contributions of the region to the sustainability and unity of the nation, it noted that in the years preceding the oil boom, the Middle Belt singularly sustained the nation’s economy through its agricultural produce, describing the region as the “glue or bridge” that holds Nigeria while citing the gallantry of the Nigerian Army which was majorly comprised of men and officers from the middle belt states led by Gen. Yakubu Gowon who it hailed for achieving such feat at the tender age of 29.

It also demanded that in compensation to the region for its contribution to the nation, “the middle belt demands from Nigerians that the next president comes from the region”, while calling on the federal government to execute more capital projects to increase federal presence in the region as well as create more job opportunities for youth in the region.

However, the organisation has also commended President Goodluck Jonathan, in his patriotic disposition of extending a hand of fellowship to the northern militants and insurgents requesting them to abandon the path of needless violence, while calling on the president to extend similar gesture to other parts of the country to arrest existing or emerging volatile youths from other regions including the middle belt.

It urged the President to focus on the Transformation Agenda which is already yielding results and disregard activities of detractors.

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