Wealthy and opportuned sons and daughters of the Middle-Belt have been enjoined to bury their political, religious, ethnic and cultural differences with a view to boost the socio-economic potentials, restore peaceful co-existence among its communities and promote religious harmony in the region.
A communiqué issued in Kaduna by the spokesman of Plateau State chapter of the Middle-Belt Progressive Movement (MBM) at the end of its congress meeting held at the conference hall of the Nigerian Union of Journalists Jos, also indicated the intention of the Movement to transform the region into a center of excellence through the development of tourism, solid minerals, agriculture and sporting activities.
The Movement, according to the communiqué, has resolved to embark on various peoples-oriented projects that could ensure the speedy economic empowerment of all Middle-Belters, in view of the fact that about 85 percent of the people in this region are rural-based peasant farmers, artisans, petty traders, transporters and a large number of unemployed youths.
Such projects include the formation of various forums that will help to eradicate violence, poverty, illiteracy, crime, corruption, unemployment and promote safety on our roads. Others include reduction to the barest minimum the scourge of AIDS, polio and malaria in the Middle-Belt, in addition to political and economic empowerment of the region.
The following resolutions were adopted at the end of the congress meeting during which elections of new Exco members to oversee the affairs of the Movement in Plateau State for the next two years were also conducted:
That a committee be constituted charged with the responsibility of creating awareness about the aims and objectives of Middle-Belt Progressive Movement and to ensure the establishment of a business foundation to be called Middle-Belt Economic Empowerment Foundation (MIBEEF).
That a project, tagged ‘Middle-Belt AIDS, Poverty, Illiteracy and Violence Eradication Project’ (MIBAPIVEP), be established to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, violence and combat the scourge of AIDS in the region.
Meanwhile, this month has been kept aside by the Movement as period for a retreat, christened ‘Middle-Belt Economic Empowerment Retreat’ aimed at creating awareness about the vast agricultural, industrial, mining, tourism and business potentials of the region. 2003 has also been designated to host the maiden edition of Middle-Belt Annual Festival of Arts, Culture and Traditional Sports, otherwise called, ‘MIBAFACTS 2003.’
The newly-elected Exco members to run the affairs of the Plateau State Chapter of the Middle-Belt Progressive Movement in the next two years are, Comrade Paul S. Wai (Chairman); Pastor Luke Dung (Vive Chairman); Mr James Manga (Asst Secretary); Mr Slyvia Dagu (Treasurer); Ustaz Saddiq, A.I. Sumbelep (PRO); Mr Daniel Shiptong (Financial Secretary); Barrister Donga Damiya (Legal Adviser); while Barrister Nankin Bagugu and Mama Larai are Ex-officio members.
In his post-election speech, Comrade Paul S. Wai, a lecturer with the Department of Psychology, University of Jos, pledged that his tenure would be dedicated towards restoring peaceful co-existence among the diverse communities and between different religious organizations in Plateau State, the Middle-Belt region and Nigeria in general.
Culled from: Our VISION magazine, Vol.4, No.1, 2003