Middle Belt holds Nigeria ‘Security Summit’

The Middle Belt holds Nigeria together

January 29th, 2012

FFK with IBB at IBB private dinner for FFK {Wikipedia}

NewsRescue- Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), the Yoruba Ile-Ife chieftan, recently lambasted Nigeria’s former president, IBB (Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida) for professing his readiness to defend a united Nigeria at all costs. In words attributed to FFK:

…we that are from the south, together with our compatriots from the Middle Belt will rise up, join hands together and resist the Phillistines, the Amalekites and the usurpers in our midst to the last man.

The serious problem here is that FFK apparently does not know who the Middle Belt is. And this is a problem of not just FFK, but commonly observed with many Southern Nigerians in eager for a chance at cutting up the Nation.

Dear FFK, your friend, who you do happen to know so well; he actually organized a private lunch for you on your 50th birthday in Lagos, 2010 {as can be observed on your Wikipedia page}, is from the Middle Belt. Yes, IBB’s Niger state is as Middle Belt as it gets. So which side are ‘your compatriots’ on? Yours or Nigeria’s?

Why is the South confused?

And this is the critical problem the South had previously and continues to have. The knowledge of the geo-politics of Nigeria.  What is FFK’s intention, does he not know that his dear friend and associate, IBB is from Niger state? Or is his outburst an intentional attempt at misguiding and manipulating the public? It is well known how Yoruba leader, Awo (Late Obafemi Awolowo) ‘betrayed’ the Biafra secession cause of late General Ojukwu. Is history always going to repeat itself?

To adequately strive for justice and battle an enemy, one must first know who that enemy is, or at least, know who one’s friends are. The South, in justified frustration, fails to settle down and carefully recognize what the facts and reality is.

Related: NewsRescue- The Solution for Boko

Middle Belt leader and Southern General decimated Biafra

The South usually blames the North for the decimation of the Biafra dream. But how real is this? Fact-check: It is very untrue. It was another Middle Belt leader, Yakubu Gowon, a Christian who hails from Kanke, Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, that, together with his army commander, another Southern Christian from Ogun state, General and two-time president of Nigeria, Obasanjo (OBJ), led the assault of Biafra. In the Northern counter Aguyi Ironsi coup of 1966, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, Christian Gowon from the Middle Belt emerged as the ‘compromise’ head of the new government.

In this Youtube video, at 3 mins and 30 seconds, Gowon clearly acknowledges his being from the Middle Belt of Nigeria.

Indeed, according to NVS, and Wikipedia, the Middle Belt consists of:


Nigeria’s prominent and most ‘remarkable’ leaders, the Babangidas, the Tafawa Balewas, the Abdulsalam Abubakars and the Gowons, blamed for most of the grievance of Nigeria, were all Middle Belt Nigerians.

Related: NewsRescue- Birom Christians Eat Roasted Flesh of Muslims they Killed in Jos, Nigeria

In truth, the Sharia North has contributed very little to actual leadership of the Nation. And this area remains the most impoverished part of Nigeria, with the poverty level at 70-90%, at the low extreme of the combined 50% average. No surprise violence which is closely related to poverty is prominent in this Northern area.

Related: NewsRescue- Poverty in the North – A “Mayday” Call

The leaders from the ‘Sharia’/ Dan-Fodio North include: Shehu Shagari, Late Musa Yaradua, Late Murtala Muhammed and General Buhari, who is regarded by most Nigerians as having been one of Nigeria’s best and least corrupt leaders. Buhari together with his deputy, late general Tunde Idiagbon rejected IMF-SAP proposals which IBB later accepted, that crippled Nigeria. In like fashion, current president Goodluck Johnathan listened to the IMF and abruptly removed fuel subsidies, to the detriment of Nigeria.

Related: NewsRescue- Summary of Nigeria IMF-SAP debt progression

In a statement by a prominent Middle Belt leader, Leonard Karshima Shilgba, PhD:

We the peoples of the Middle Belt in particular and non Dan Fodians, in general, must rise up and resist this egregiously inhuman vision with every sense of pride and purpose. You can never be wrong in seeking to be free. Some have derisively asked the clear description of the Middle Belt peoples. Socially speaking, all non-Dan Fodians in the geographical north and central north are Middle Belt people, the oppressed people, deceptively huddled up under the “One North” of Sir Ahmadu Bello. However, geographically, it is generally acceptable to many scholars from the region that the Middle Belt federation consists of people in the present BENUE, NASSARAWA, TARABA, ADAMAWA, PLATEAU, SOUTHERN KEBBI, KOGI, KWARA, NIGER, SOUTHERN KADUNA, FCT, SOUTHERN GOMBE , and the two minority local government areas of TAFAWA BALEWA and BOGORO in southern Bauchi State.

The Powerful Multicolored Belt

We immediately see the areas recognized as the Middle Belt by the Middle Belt itself. This raises two pertinent issues,- Why does the South fail to recognize that it is the large Middle Belt that was responsible for the issues of the past that they hold the ‘Dan-Fodio’/Sharia North responsible for? And secondly, is it possible to ever expect this same Middle Belt will stand against their Northern cousins and support the South?

Nigeria’s Middle Belt, just like any belt does, has historically fastened the South to the rest of Nigeria. Indeed this vast area of mixed tribes, including some who will associate as Northerners and others who will call themselves Southerners. A rich even mix of Muslims and Christians has long been the capital and command and control center of Nigeria. A quiet, hidden giant. Silently operating to foster unity and maintain its quiet dominance. Little surprise the capital of Nigeria is not situated in Lagos anymore and was not moved to the impoverished North, but was rather situated at Abuja, FCT, right beside IBB’s Niger state, in the Middle Belt.

Is a conclusive division of Nigeria possible with this multi-religio-ethnic vast Middle Belt?

Chimaroke Nnnamani, the then governor of Enugu State, in his speech delivered to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Africa Republic Foundation (ARF), in Jos, in 2005, described the Middle Belt as ‘the Glue of the Nation’. Nigeria Central: Middle Belt, Glue of the Nation– Chimaroke Nnamani, Enugu Governor

Chimaroke Nnamani {faceBook}

As Middle Belt has come a long way in history, it has expanded on the political fillip of a feeling of system emasculation and oppression. Indeed, such feeling has drawn more who were not ordinarily, by geography and culture, considered by Middle Belt. Mid way, it was simply those who considered themselves unfortunate to be hemmed into the Northern Nigerian political system. That way, even some of the ethnic groups, evident northeast bound but living on the feeling of alienation, either by the old Northern system or the evolving Northeastern patch-up, had to seek succour under the umbrella of Middle Belt.

Further south, the Yoruba of Kwara and Kogi, Kabba, Ebira, Igala, Idoma, etc, had to be sucked into this emerging political feeling.

It is on account of this that it is currently argued that in terms of geopolitical territory, what may eventually spring up as the Middle Belt would be a behemoth squeezing apart the North and South of Nigeria, but constituting a seeming natural intervention between some alleged dominators and usurpists favoured at the transition of power from colonialism to nation.

Middle Belt ‘Security Summit’ held January 19th, 2012

The hidden significance, role and character of the Middle Belt can best be illustrated with this report on a January security summit. According to AllAfrica andDaily Trust (Abuja):

So many things are happening at the same time in Nigeria. But did you notice that a ‘Middle Belt Security Summit’ was held on Thursday last week? It was addressed by a specially invited Israeli security expert who undertook that his country would provide the Middle Belt with security support.

Jerry Gana

Yet neither the Minister of Foreign Affairs nor the security agencies have called the Israeli envoy or the Israeli government to order, to the effect that there is no other sovereign country within the borders of Nigeria that organises its own security and diplomacy. Again, Nigeria’s challenged government has not bothered to call the organisers of that conference to order either. And it was such a gathering of the Middle Belt who-is-who, men and women. The only missing notables were General Yakubu Gowon, General Yakubu Danjuma and Senate President David Mark. Otherwise it was a Jerry Gana and Solomon Lar field day, liberally showcased by the NTA, at prime viewing time.

Pray, if Gani Adams or Frederick Faseun had gathered the Yoruba in a similar manner, would the Federal Government have kept quiet? Wouldn’t Tinubu or some other fall guy or both have been in the can by now, accused of treason? Why, then, are MASSOB and its Uwazurike being harassed?

What would be the reaction of the government if ACF were to hold a “Security Summit” (not conference on security or a peace conference) to which it invited Iran or an Iranian to help it secure the region? It is curious that the equally challenged Nigerian media have gone quiet on this.


Highlights from Middle Belt Security Summit

We gathered you invited the Israelis to help with the security situation in the country?

It’s not quite correct to say we invited the Israelis. We had three sub-teams and we looked for experts who could give us well informed lecture on those things. So, we invited General Gwai who is from Kaduna State, a former chief of defence staff and adviser to United Nations on defence. We invited General Ibrahim Sabo, a Muslim from Bauchi State and a former director of military intelligence. We invited a gentle man who works in the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria, who is an expert in counter – terrorism. He was specifically invited to give lecture on what a nation that is under siege like Nigeria needs to do and throughout his lecture he didn’t address the Middle-Belt, he addressed Nigeria.

Solomon Lar at Transcorp

Those saying the country will break up in 2015, 2030 have no understanding of who we are as a people. Those of us from the Middle Belt, our position for now is that we know that the far north has not been friendly to us and have never  been interested in our well-being. Whenever  we talk about north the far north is referring to the far north and themselves only. They want us to put our eggs in the same basket but they will eat the eggs. So, if Nigeria is going to break we are not going with the far north and where will you begin to draw the boundary?

The truth is let’s stop deluding ourselves about anybody creating one small empire somewhere out of this Nigeria. God brought us together and it was not by accident. We only need to work out our differences and build trust so that this country can fulfil its destiny. I still believe that a northern Nigeria where every Muslim child is well educated, every Christian  child is well educated and the government is accountable and well focused will produce prosperity comparable to Dubai, and with time the country will become an example of how a pluralistic society can co-exist on the basis of tolerance and mutual respect.

What is your advice to government  for  lasting solution to the security challenge?

We need continuous engagement and dialogue. But this blanket call for sovereign national conference is just lazy thinking because sovereign or no sovereign, we have had so many conferences . I was a delegate to the 2005 Political Reform Conference. We thought we had proffered the answers to all the problems of Nigeria. Everyone said this was the best thing that has happened to this country. What came out of it? That was not the first. It will not be the last.

…It has to be a continuous process and that way we enrich the ideas that are in the market place. For the government specifically: fight corruption, build infrastructure and empower the youth.

…If we don’t drop our hypocrisy and stop pretending that these people are faceless, we will roast in this for long and the overall consequences is that Nigeria will be adversely affected but northern Nigeria will be devastated economically and socially. So, northerners should see it as a northern problem before they even see it as a Nigerian problem. If our governors start the process of dialogue, what makes you think the federal government will not key into it?

Read the rest of the post summit release

South/South-East reaction to summit

Obe: Between treason and unity

January 25, 2012

Jerry Gana, known for his Israeli alliances, at Israel 50 year Jubilee. {http://abuja.mfa.gov.il}

These cries of ‘treason’ and calls for secession over an economic issue with no rebuke from the President undoubtedly exacerbated an already dangerous situation that has left people all over the country doing ‘what seems good in their own eyes’ generally proposing cures that ultimately, are likely to be worse than the illness, and certainly no substitute for a coherent, united national response to the common threat posed by Boko Haram.

Thus we have an Israeli security expert promising his government’s assistance to Middle-Belt leaders.  Of course, Israel’s position in Palestine is actually the inverse of the situation in the Middle Belt, but even if one agrees that the mere 200 years that ‘settlers’ have spent in Plateau State lie at the root of the problem, are the 10-foot high concrete walls, wholesale detentions and targeted assassinations with periodic air attacks that purport to have created a sense of security in Israel, really appropriate for us?

Related Image:

Distribution of Nigeria's leadership by religion


Of Yorubas, Ijaw and Igbos

Mujahid Asari with President GEJ

Will the Yorubas fight for the Southern cause? The answer to this is easy to extrapolate, not just from history, but by examining the cultural topography of the Yoruba nation. Today, most Yoruba states are governed by Muslims. Indeed the Yoruba population of Nigeria is a good mix of Muslims, Christians and others. Now, initially the Yorubas may fight on Biafra or the Souths behalf, but how long will the grievance at the certainly painful history of corruption, sustain this, when they continue to see Muslims die up North. Not too long, in fact from the behavior of the likes of FFK, I will say, the end will be before the beginning. And the same will be seen across the federation. It is interesting to note, that the famous leader of the Southern terrorist group, MEND, Asari Dokubo Mujahid is a Muslim. The name, ‘Mujahid’, taken from the Muslim word, ‘Jihad’, or ‘battle’.


In unity there is strength. Can we count on Ijaw-Igbo unity? The sad but realistic answer is- no. The Ijaw people already have a standing army. And the current president, GEJ is ever ready to hold the reigns to this army in his dream of monarchical life-time presidency. Will Ijaws work with Igbos for common goal? And can there ever be a work-able rotational presidency between these two groups? I do not foresee this. Indeed, all minority groups will suffer in the continuous splintering that will ensue. And non will ever hold the reigns of power in every splintered nation. Minority tribes, like the tribe of the current president, have a united Nigeria to credit for their survival and even for their possibilities to hold top government positions, including the presidency. Things are not so rosy in highly skewed societies. {Related: NewsRescue- Nigeria; 55 murdered, houses razed in New Year eve Ebonyi communal clash attack } Hence the best and only possible way for the South or whichever parts of it wish for an identity is through international courts and not violence. Impulsiveness and reactionary statements only breeds hate, jeopardizes life and displays folly.

Masses dey fight, Politicians dey jollof

FFK and IBB {Image from FemiFaniKayodeOrg}

Now, while the masses feud in their quest for self determination and progress. And while the bloody battle is fought, the betrayals and webs of conspiracies are unleashed and entangled. The cabal, the corrupt elites who are actually responsible for the crises of Nigeria. The likes of FFK (Femi Fani-Kayode) of the Obasanjo regime, and IBB will party together and mark their birthdays in Paris, far away from the turmoil. Only to return after all dust has settled to see which of the fragments they can take control of with their amassed wealth and lead. Is it not time the masses figure out what and who the real enemy is?

Related: NewsRescue- Nigeria’s problem isn’t Islamist fundamentalism — it’s the country’s corrupt and self-serving government. BY JEAN HERSKOVITS CFR (USA)

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This article was contributed by an Anonymous author who chooses to identify himself simply as a ‘Southern Muslim’. Editorials by NewsRescue.