The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has observed with dismay over what it described as a deliberate ploy to stifling alternative voices in the country.
The forum also observed with dismay the travails of both Rt. Hon Na’Abba and Dr. Mailafia in the hands of security agencies over their comments on national issues.
MBF National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, in a statement made available to NAIJARAY in Kaduna on Sunday, he said, “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has been drawn to invitations extended by the Department of State Service (DSS) to the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and presidential candidate of the African Democracy Congress (ADC) in the 2019 polls, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, over his recent interview with Nigerian Info 93.3FM.
¹”Going by the startling revelations disclosed by the Oxford Economist that attracted outrage from within and outside the country, Dr. Mailafia would, after his initial appearance at the Jos office of the DSS, insist that he stood by the media interview. A few days later, he was re-invited by the secret police in Jos, and later banned from speaking to the media on the matter.
“Considering these invitations by the DSS to this patriotic Nigerian who is a distinguished son of the Middle Belt, we are worried that after appearing before the secret police twice without a fail, another invitation was issued to Dr Mailafia on Friday, August 21, 2020 by the Nigeria Police requesting him to appear before them tomorrow, Monday August 24, 2020 in Abuja,” the statement explained.
The forum described his invitation to Abuja by the Police as subtle acts of intimidating alternative voices, adding that the former Speaker of the House of Representatives. Rt. Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba, was also a guest of the secret police in Abuja last Monday where he was grilled over his media interview in which he was quoted to have called for self-determination for Nigerians.
As a Forum representing all ethnic nationalities in the North, for which the Oxford Economist is a member, the forum called on the police to stop further harassment of both the former Speaker and ADC presidential candidate whose comments were only meant to serve as wake-up calls for the nation’s security agencies to tackle the raging insurgency and grave insecurity shredding our country.
The MBF added that it is always in constant touch with Dr Mailafia since his ordeal in the hands of the DSS, and are completely kept abreast of the matter.
As a forum, it said they are worried that there are attempts by some unscrupulous people to either change the narratives or ridicule the source of Dr. Mailafia’s disclosure as unreliable.
The Forum wishes to declare that Dr. Mailafia’s disclosure is in tandem with realities on the ground and challenged the nation’s security forces to stop rural killings and ensure the safe return of our sacked communities now in various Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps back to their ancestral lands.
The forum noted, “Just last Wednesday in Zuru, Kebbi State, the Inspector-General of the Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, disclosed that security agencies have discovered that banditry rocking our nation has assumed an international dimension, with Nigerien, Sudanese, Malian and Libyan bandits, among others, unleashing terror on Nigerians.
“Is that disclosure by the IG not in tandem with Mailafia’s disclosure?
We call on both the DSS and the Police to stop further harassment of Dr. Mailafia and concentrate on their core mandates of securing lives and property of citizens.”