Address IDPs challenges before census, MBF tells Tinubu

Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has called on President Bola Tinubu to address the problems faced by internally displaced persons across the country, especially in Middle Belt region before the proposed housing and population census.

National President of MBF, Dr. Pogu Bitrus in a statement in Abuja, on Tuesday, said:

“The suspension of the exercise by the former administration came on the heels of protests by IDPs, mostly in the Middle Belt, that conducting the census with some of them in various IDP camps, would amount to excluding them for the exercise, among other reasons.

“The MBF is completely averse to the position of the NPC when viewed against the current level of insecurity plaguing the country, especially the Middle Belt.

“We believe that for the headcount to be successful and achieve its aims, the security of lives and overall security must be guaranteed.

“No nation ever conducts population and housing census when some territories have been overrun and occupied by dreaded foreign terrorists, with millions of her citizens displaced by vicious and bloodthirsty criminals ravaging the country.

READ ALSO:NATO refuses to give Ukraine timeframe on joining

“We refer specifically to terror attacks on some Middle Bet communities where defenceless and law-abiding citizens have been killed in the last one decade, with no succour coming their way.

In Southern Borno, Boko Haram attacks forced inhabitants to flee their ancestral land 

“In Southern Borno, for instance, Boko Haram elements have carried out attacks on communities, forcing inhabitants to flee their ancestral land for safety.

“It is a fact that some of these citizens, who have been traumatised and turned into refugees in their own country and other neighbouring countries, are yet to return to their communities in the last 10 years.

“In some states like Plateau, Niger, Benue, and Kaduna, communities have been decimated, with thousands of people chased out of their ancestral lands.

“In clear demonstration of illegalities, these foreign occupiers of these towns have renamed these communities under the watch of security forces.

“Despite the condemnation and outcries against forceful eviction of citizens from their natural habitation, the dream of fleeing indigenous people returning to their communities is still a mirage.

“In Plateau State, for instance, the ceaseless wind of violence blowing across Mangu LGA, at the weekend led to the burning down of houses and murder of hundreds of law-abiding Nigerians in the last three months.

READ ALSO:3 jailed for cybercrime in Kwara

“In the same period, no fewer than 30 people were mauled by bike-riding terrorists as they unleashed terror attacks on Ukum, Benue State, in continuation of their killing spree.

“Considering the incessant violence that has been unleashed on communities of Plateau and Benue, among other states, there seems to be a premeditated ploy to cleanse the states of indigenous population in order to take over their lands, while allowing coldblooded murderers an opportunity to take over their towns and villages.

“For now, what must be of primary focus to the Federal Government should not be on conducting population and housing census.

“What should be of priority is to ensure that the millions of displaced persons across Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt Region, are provided with adequate security to return to where they were forced to flee from.

Census without addressing IDP issues amounts to maneuver to palm off a false demography

“Conducting the census now without addressing the IDP issues amounts to a deliberate maneuver to palm off a false demography on a nation whose citizens have been driven from their habitations by foreign Fulani invaders.

“As desirable as the population and housing census is to any nation, certain parameters crucial to the conduct of a transparent headcount must be attained.

“In a situation where foreign criminal Fulani militias have overtaken some Middle Belt communities, the Federal Government must not spare any person or interest in restoring order and providing adequate security for lives and property.

“If the census goes ahead as planned without resolving the present security challenges and returning IDPs to their communities, legitimacy would be conferred on the vicious brigands that have continued to carry out genocidal attacks on defenceless communities.

No nation should conduct census in troublous times

“No nation, including Nigeria, should conduct a census in troublous times.

READ ALSO:Tinubu expresses sadness, grief over Plateau, Benue killings

“While not underestimating the relevance of the headcount, the Forum calls on the Federal Government to work towards resolving security challenges in order to avoid conducting another census that may be marred in disputes.

“The MBF is of the strong view that displaced communities living in make-shift habitation must be returned to their ancestral lands, and not be left with the mislaid feeling that they have been abandoned at the mercies of bloodthirsty invaders and criminals.

“There is no way the NPC can rationalise its call on President Tinubu to fix new dates for the suspended population and housing census when Nigeria is still enmeshed in fighting a war against elements tearing the country apart,” he added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: