President Muhammadu Buhari says the recent killings in some states of the country are wicked and condemnable.
He therefore called on all citizens of the country to collectively condemn the acts and ensure that their perpetrators were brought to book.
The recent killings in Benue, Zamfara and lately Plateau are wicked, condemnable and completely unacceptable acts. We, Nigerians, are religious people and no religion or culture accepts the killing of people for any reason whatsoever. This is why we must all rise as one to condemn these vile and wicked acts to ensure that all the culprits are brought to justice, President Buhari stated.
He re-stated his commitment to finding a lasting solution to the persistent problem, as he sought the support of clerics in dealing with the problem.
We owe it to the memory of those who lost their lives in the violence in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Zamfara and elsewhere since 1999 to bring the conflicts to a decisive end. I assure you that we will do this. Let me make it clear that even a single life lost in any part of the country is one too many. I came to office vowing to ensure the protection of lives and property, and I remain committed to this despite the challenges we have experienced, he said.
The President also sought the support of law enforcement agencies to create avenue for dialogue and to assist in bringing the perpetrators to book.
The President called on the Judiciary to fast track the prosecution of suspects already arrested in connection with crisis.
The military and police have been arrested and hundreds of suspects across the various flash-points in the region would be prosecuted. In a number of cases, we have seen convictions. Nigerians are right when they say they want to see more convictions and I would like to appeal to the judiciary to help us fast-track these cases.
When some, for clearly political purposes, attempt to suggest that this government is doing nothing about the killings, and that I, being Fulani, must be encouraging these satanic acts, it seems to me that there is no limit to the evil in the minds of men. Otherwise, how can anyone in their right minds suggest that I, as an elected President even with substantial votes in the affected areas, will for any reason do harm by an act of omission to those same people?
President Buhari said the problems in all these areas were historical which past administrations have had to contend with such as the one that took place in 2001.
He reminded Nigerians that a State of Emergency was declared after thousands were killed in 2001 in Plateau State leading to the change of the governor.
The President informed his guests that decisive actions were being taken, in order to nip the crisis in the bud.
In recent weeks, we have beefed up its strength with the deployment of extra Special Forces from the Defence headquarters. Besides, we currently have no fewer than three special military intervention forces in the troubled zones. Operation Safe Haven to secure Plateau State, Operation Whirl Stroke 1 (OPWS) to secure Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa and OPWS 2 to secure Zamfara and Kaduna States.
These forces are supported with investigative and intelligence gathering capabilities from the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services and other agencies. Government can achieve lasting peace only with the sincere and active cooperation of communities, religious leaders, youths and other stakeholders. These include the Media in whose hands lies the power to frame, shape the perspectives and narratives which influence the thinking of millions of people within and outside Nigeria, he stated.
President Buhari called on citizens to collectively disgrace those who are fuelling the fires of ethnic and religious conflicts for their short-term political gains, adding that the country belongs equally to Christians and Muslims and even those who claim ignorance of God.
Source: Voice of Nigeria