The Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum for Development (SNMBFD) says Nigeria will remain in a state of perpetual misery unless urgently restructured.
The group consisting of representatives of indigenes from southern Nigeria and the middle belt made the pronouncement at the conclusion of a two-day conference held in Lagos on Thursday and Friday.
Speaking at the conference, Banji Akintoye, a senator in the second republic, said there was a great need for indigenes of the middle belt and southern Nigeria to form a coalition against violent killings by herdsmen.
He said representatives from minority ethnic groups in 24 states should explore their shared history and vision for a greater country where justice and liberty should prevail.
“Nigeria will remain in perpetual turmoil of misery, poverty and violence unless the country is urgently restructured,” he said.
“We have been divided for too long. Our strength lay in our unity. We shall no longer allow our people to live in the myth of divisions created to weaken us and strengthen our adversaries.
“From today, we are going to speak together, work together, walk together, smile together and if need be, share together the joys and the sorrows of our longsuffering peoples.
“Nigeria is bleeding owing to the endless shedding of blood and the unchecked millions of deadly weapons in the hands of non-state actors. Any attack on any one of the peoples of the south or middle belt is now an attack on all.”
Sidney Imobhio, SNMBDF president, said the group which came into existence two years ago, keeps gaining prominence across the south and the middle belt.
He said the group would work with various interest groups in the south and middle belt to ensure that the 2019 elections are backed by incessant calls for restructuring.