The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has condemned the labeling of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu as terrorists by the Federal Government.
In a communiqué issued after its second Consultative Summit in Abuja on Thursday, the group rejected, “the hasty tagging of IPOB as terrorist organisation in the face of contrary evidence.”
In attendance were Edwin Clark, Barnabas Gumade, Jerry Gana, Olu Falae, Tunde Ogbeha, Ayo Adebajo, Yinka Odumakin, Dan Suleiman and Stella Omu.
The Forum also deplored recent developments in the South East, which led to deployment of troops.
“We call on the Federal Government to always exercise restraint in the deployment of troops in quelling civil agitations, which is the responsibility of the Police in any democracy.
“Consequently, we call on the Federal Government to reconsider similar operations that the Army is embarking on in the South West and South South zones, which are peaceful areas,” it said.
The Forum added the military exercises were unnecessary and were largely seen as “sheer intimidation and barring of fangs.”
“Under federalism, you do not deploy troops to the federating units without the invitation of the affected local authorities.
“The Federal Government must also employ dialogue above raw force in engaging dissension,” the communiqué added.
It also called on the Federal Government to tackle kidnapping, herdsmen/farmers clashes and abduction in the Middle-Belt region.