A socio-political group, the Southern Nigeria Forum and the Middle Belt on Tuesday called on the people of the areas to boycott eating of beef in memory of the over 70 victims of herdsmen attack in Benue State.
This formed part of the group’s communique after a one-day meeting held in Enugu.
They not only condemned the rampaging activities of suspected Fulani herdsmen but rejected in its entirety the proposed cattle colonies.
According to the communique signed by Rev. Okechukwu Obioha for the SNF and Rev. James Pam for the Middle Belt, the boycott would take effect from March 1, 2018.
The communique read:
“The southern Nigerian Forum today 23rd January, 2018 held a meeting to map out strategies for the sensitization of its people towards full participation in the 2019 general elections in view of the past voter apathy witnessed especially in the South and the Middle Belt and to review the security situation in the country.
“The SNF also decided to use the occasion to strengthen the growing social and political bonds between the people of the South-East, South-South, South-West and Middle-Belt in view of the common experiences of our people in Nigeria. At the end of the successful deliberations, the meeting resolved as follows:
“That with heavy heart we sympathize with the Governor, relations and friends of the victims and the entire people of Benue State over the recent cold-blooded murder of 73 citizens of their state. In order to avoid subsequent occurrences, we:
“Urge President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of all the armed militia that are committing atrocities in Benue and other parts of Nigeria.
“That we do not see the rationale in setting up the Prof. Osinbajo-led Committee to look into the harder invasions, we rather recommend the full deployment of Nigeria’s military arsenal to crush the invading armies.
“That all the 17 Southern States, 14 Middle Belt States and the FCT rejects the idea of creating cattle colonies in our states. We instead recommend the enforcement of private ranching for all animal keepers.
“That the SNF and the MB groupings shall embark on the sensitization of the polity on the need for all persons of 18 years and above to register as voters and to participate in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
“We have observed that in the 2015 general election, the electronic card readers deployed by INEC tended to fail more in the Southern and Middle Belt States. We therefore wish to remind INEC to plan well for smooth voter registration and 2019 general elections.
“The SNF and the MB in consideration of the amount of money spent in the conduct of the 2014 National Conference with 490 wise men and women, calls on the Federal Government for the immediate implementation of the 2014 Confab report.
“That we endorse and support the immediate restructuring of Nigeria as a ground to maintain peace and unity of the country.
“The SNF/MB in order to honour the victims of the herdsmen activities across the country, the Southerners and Middle Belters are hereby urged to abstain from eating cow meat for 21 days in the first instance beginning from 1st March, 2018.
“The SNF/MB as a socio-political forum calls on all political parties to choose a Middle Belter for the 2019 presidential election.”