By Ibrahim Wuyo, Kaduna
The Kogi East Christian Elders/Leaders Forum has called on its people to be vigilant as Middle Belters, to protect their God- given territory against land grabbers and invaders masquerading as Fulani herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers, whose sole aim is to dislodge and over run the Middle Belt.
This was contained in a communique issued in Kaduna after the National Prayer Congress of the Forum, held at the Catholic Centre in Anpka.
The communique was signed by Rev Joseph Eguda, National President and Engr. SLS Salifu, the National Co-ordinator.
They said the event with its theme, “The Corporate Welfare of Kogi East, the National Prayer Congress ,was attended by National, State and Local Officers of the Forum, prominent Christian leaders, as well as Christian traditional rulers within the Kogi East.
“Delegations from the Middle Belt, Yoruba and Ibo Nations, PANDEV and other groups of like minds were also in attendance with messages of solidarity.The Key Note address was delivered by the National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr, Pogu Bitrus.”
“Papers on various topics including INEC and Voter Registration, Relationship of Kogi East with other regions, Economic Potential of Kogi East: Christian Perspective, State Creation, 2023 Elections, Christian Traditional Leadership, Church Leadership and Decision on Igala Christian Wives burial were delivered.”
“From the foregoing, the Kogi East Christian Elders/ Leaders Forum came up with the following resolutions: -The Forum stressed the need for synthesis of community associations of any form in Kogi State to work towards the social economic growth and well-being of the people.”
“The Forum encourages Kogi State and its unit of Christian Elders and leaders in Kogi East to maintain their God- given space within the comity of Nigerians. The Forum enjoins the people to be vigilant as Middle Belters, to protect their God- given Territory/ land against land grabbers and invaders masquerading as Fulani herdsmen, Bandits and Kidnappers, whose sole aim is to dislodge and over run the Middle Belt.”
The Middle Belt ,they said, should give full resistance to such tendencies and Kogi East should remember the exploits of the Igala Kingdom in earlier days which shall remain unconquerable.
“Above all, the Forum encourages the people to be identified as an identity and to disabuse the minds of those with the notion that the Middle Belt is a religious organization.”
“The Forum mandated participants to go back to their various bases to encourage eligible voters to register in the ongoing registration exercise, emphasizing that it is the civic responsibility of all.”
“The Forum encourages members to be vigilant and watch the unfolding sequence of electoral happenings in the country, while identifying ourselves fully with the corporate yearnings of the Middle Belt.
Kogi East elders/ leaders stand by the Will of the people with respect to the request for the creation of Okura State.”
“It took note of the peculiar rites of a deceased Christian Igala woman. While not diminishing the cultural affiliation, the Forum agreed as Christians that the Christian Custom should prevail over all other customs, especially as they pertain to the burial of a deceased Christian wife, who should be buried at the husband’s home, replacing the current practices that have led some families to disagreement.”
“The Forum encourages Christian clergy and traditional rulers to close ranks, praying regularly for the corporate welfare of Kogi East and by extension, Kogi State.
The Forum appeals to the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to use his good office to hasten the approval of the recommendation of the traditional council of the new Attah Igala.”
The participants commended the Kogi State Government for the priority attached to the security of lives and property of the people and encourage the government not to relent.