By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah |
The presidency has said President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his condolences to the families of citizens who lost their loved ones in the recent spate of killings in Benue State.
Also, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Thursday night, said the president stated that the rising level of incidents, especially the killings and violence in various parts of the country calls for further collaboration with security agencies to curb its recurrence.
He also stated his disappointment and sadness to hear the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom’s litany of accusations against his person and his government, following the recent unfortunate incidents in the state.
Shehu said no responsible government takes pleasure in such events as the killing of the military and that of innocent citizens taking refuge in an Internally Displaced Persons’ camp.
He said: “President Buhari is deeply pained by the terrible acts of violence happening not only in Benue State but also in other parts of the country and expects that the law enforcement agencies will go to every possible extent to catch the perpetrators of these heinous acts and bring them to justice.
“The lives of fellow citizens should not be desecrated by deploying them in political diatribe which unfortunately appeared to be the intent of the string of emotional attacks and blame laid at the doors of the President for those killings by Governor Ortom. President Buhari took an oath to defend the life and property of every citizen, a duty he takes seriously and is committed to ensuring.
“Those citizens regardless of their affiliations, who either incite, sponsor or are proven to be abettors of these atrocities will face the law squarely and be answerable for their crimes against our fellow citizens and nation.”
He further stated that President Buhari continuously stresses that the strength of our country lies in our diversity in faith, culture, and traditions and attempts to sharpen the divide between northern and southern Nigeria, between Muslims and Christians, and between communities that have coexisted for centuries should be frowned upon and resisted. As Nigerians, we accuse colonial rulers of the policy of divide and rule.
“Today, he noted that it is our own leaders who put region against region, religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group and community against community,” he said.
Shehu said the future of Benue State and indeed that of the entire country lies in harmony and the respect for law, order, and the constitution. It is the only way to achieve progress and development.
“While the President will continue to keep security, police and the armed forces on their toes to be on top of their act in troubled parts of the country, the situation in the states will greatly be helped by everyone working together because that is the foundation on which progress and prosperity can be achieved.
“Benue under the Ortom administration ought to cooperate with the Federal Government in the implementation of a number of national strategies programs in addressing underlying issues militating against peace, progress and development.
“This can still get done when the interest of the people is placed above all other interests. A government voted into office by the people, should treat the people as its masters and not as its servants,” he stated .