Leaders from Middle-belt and Southern part of Nigeria have condemned the tagging of (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation by the Federal Government.
The leaders under the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum stated this in a communiqué issued after its 2nd Consultative Summit in Abuja on Thursday.
“We reject the hasty tagging of IPOB as terrorist organisation in the face of contrary evidence, the communiqué noted.
The Forum also deplored recent developments in the South East, which led to deployment of troops against agitation in the region by IPOB, which according to the body, led to avoidable loss of lives.
“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.
“We do not need these exercises, which are seen largely 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 stated.
The Forum also called on the Federal Government to tackle the problems of Kidnapping, herdsmen/farmers clashes and abduction in the middle belt region.
Some of those in attendance were; Edwin Clark, Barnabas Gumade, Jerry Gana, Olu Falae, Tunde Ogbeha, Ayo Adebajo, Yinka Odumaki, Dan Suleiman and Stella Omu.