From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has lampooned the Middle Belt Forum for alleging that the Nigerian military is taking sides in Plateau killings, saying that the allegation can erode public trust in the military and hinder their ability to effectively combat the ongoing security challenges in the country.

The Spokesperson of NEF, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman told Saturday Sun that it is important to critically analyse the evidence provided by the Forum to determine the validity of their claims.

“This weighty allegation by the Middle Belt Forum that Nigeria’s security agencies, particularly the military are taking sides with the perpetrators of killings in Plateau, Benue, and parts of Kaduna State has the potential to cause disrepute to the Nigerian security assets.

The Middle Belt Forum’s accusation of the Nigerian security agencies favouring the perpetrators of killings in specific regions requires solid evidence to substantiate such a serious claim.

“While it is essential to acknowledge the sentiments expressed by the Middle Belt Forum, it is equally important to consider the broader context of killings in the North. The Forum’s selective focus on certain locations raises questions about their biased perspective and its potential impact on national security.

“We must note that the killings in Plateau, Benue, and parts of Kaduna State are not isolated incidents. Violence and conflicts have plagued various regions in the North, including Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa, where the Boko Haram insurgency has caused immense suffering.

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“Communities in the North-West have been under constant attacks from bandits and kidnappers.

It is therefore mischievous to solely blame the military for the happenings in selective locations without considering the complex dynamics of violence in the entire region. To support their allegations, the Middle Belt Forum must provide concrete evidence that demonstrates the military’s direct involvement or complicity in the killings.

“Mere accusations without substantial proof can potentially tarnish the reputation of the Nigerian security agencies, which play a crucial role in maintaining law and order. Therefore, it is imperative for the Forum to present solid evidence that withstands scrutiny.

Moreover, regional considerations should not be condoned when examining the Middle Belt Forum’s allegations.

“While it is understandable that the Forum represents the interests of the Middle Belt region, it is essential to approach the issue from a national perspective. National security should be the primary concern, and any biased perspective that undermines this objective must be thoroughly interrogated.”

“Mangu-based cleric, Rev. Samuel Chukwuma of the Lighthouse of All Nation Assembly, has emphatically contradicted the claims of the Middle Belt Forum by commending the military for preventing further destruction of lives and property during the recent crisis in the Plateau State.”