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Buhari Condemns Plateau Killings, Says Act Unforgivable as Another 23 Killed in Benue

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, the senator for Plateau South in the National Assembly, Professor Nora Dadu’ut, and her counterpart in Plateau Central, Hezekiah Dimka, have described the recent bloody terrorist

Muhammadu Buhari,

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, the senator for Plateau South in the National Assembly, Professor Nora Dadu’ut, and her counterpart in Plateau Central, Hezekiah Dimka, have described the recent bloody terrorist attacks on Kanam and Wase communities in Plateau State as atrocious, saying the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

The condemnation came as the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, said the country was at the verge of collapse. Kukah said Nigeria needed urgent measures to salvage it, especially in the face of an alarming spate of insecurity.

The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), in its reaction to the worsening security situation, advised Buhari to “immediately” resign from office.

Amid the widespread mood of resentment and anger in the country, at least 23 persons were yet again killed on Monday in Benue State, when assailants believed to be herders attacked two communities in the state.

Some bloodthirsty terrorists had at the weekend killed 80 persons and abducted 70 others after an invasion of communities in Plateau State. The villages, which were attacked on Sunday, included Kukawa, Gyambawu, Dungur, Kyaram, Yelwa, Dadda, Wanka, Shuwaka, Gwammadaji, and Dadin Kowa.

THISDAY had reported that, unfortunately, while terrorists soiled the state in blood and danger, Plateau State Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong, was busy in Abuja holding political meetings with a former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Bola Tinubu, over the latter’s presidential ambition. Observers said this was a reflection of the growing insensitivity of the country’s political leaders.

However, the president in a statement issued on Tuesday by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, directed that the perpetrators of the dastardly acts should not be spared or forgiven. The president ordered the law enforcement agencies to work actively with the Plateau State government to bring the situation under control and bring the culprits to justice.

Buhari expressed his condolences over the terrorist attacks, saying as a matter of priority, peace must return at all costs to the state and the entire country.

The president urged, “Our citizens, the people of Plateau State, in particular, to expose the perpetrators of such incidents, their sponsors and those who encourage such criminals who carry out these dastardly acts of murder, so that the law will take its course.”

He added that the criminals “must not be forgiven”.

A statement in Jos by Dadu’ut urged the federal government to expeditiously apprehend the perpetrators of the Plateau killings and bring them to justice. She also called on the federal government to put machineries in place that would ensure that criminals do not escape arrest and prosecution.

Dadu’ut said, “I condole with the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, Chairman of Kanam Local Government Area, the Senator representing Plateau Central, and the people of the local government council over the sad incident.”

Dimka also commiserated with the affected communities. He said he recently paid a condolence visit to the Executive Chairman of Kanam Local Government Area, Dr. Dayyabu Garga, over the killings and wanton destruction of property. Describing the act as disheartening, sad, and unfortunate, he reiterated his appeal to the federal Government to come to the rescue of the state.

The senator called on the security agencies to intensify efforts to expose the masterminds of the killings and bring them to book as a deterrent to others.

Dimka said, “I wish to most heartily, on behalf of the people of Plateau Central, condemn these dastardly acts of taking the lives of innocent people and destruction of property and to console the families of those who have lost their loved ones in the course of these senseless attacks.”

Dimka said he was touched by the barbaric act perpetrated by the bandits, who used the land donated to the state government for ranching at Garga to infiltrate the communities that were attacked last Sunday.

The senator was reported to have donated bags of millet, sugar, salt and maggi as his contribution to efforts to alleviate the suffering of the affected communities.

Meanwhile, at least 23 locals were killed on Monday night in Benue State, when suspected armed herders attacked their communities. The attacks occurred on at Mbadwem and Tiortyu communities in Guma and Tiortyu local government areas, respectively, state authorities said.

Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Nathaniel Ikyur, confirmed the killings, in a statement on Tuesday.

Ortom condemned the killings and asked the people of the state to rise and defend themselves.

The governor said, “It is becoming increasingly glaring every day that my people are now an endangered species and so we can no longer wait for help from anywhere.”

He was also quoted as saying in the statement, “My people will have to rise up to the occasion to defend themselves and their heritage against the Fulani army of occupation.”

Apart from the killings, the governor’s aide said scores of others were injured and had been taken to the hospital for treatment.

During the attack on Mbadwem, no fewer than eight people were reported killed, while 15 people lost their lives in Tiortyu.

Ortom lamented, “We are law-abiding citizens; we have cried for help against these invaders, but nothing is forthcoming.

“We are left alone, and it looks like it is a deliberate strategy.

“Now we have only one option: to defend ourselves or get extinct. This is a case for our survival. We have been accommodating of other people in our land, but our hospitality is misconstrued as weakness. We are not a conquered people. We will never be. We are free-born citizens of Nigeria.”

The governor called on the security agencies to do more in crime prevention and protect the lives and property of the people in the state. He also urged the residents to cooperate with security agencies to flush out the undesirable elements in the society.

The state government, Ortom said, will not shy away from its commitment to providing welfare and security for its people.

Insecurity: Nigeria on the Verge of Collapse, Says Kukah

Kukah expressed concern over what he called abandonment of Nigerians to their fate in the face of terrifying insecurity.

The Bishop said, “Nigerians are like orphans in the face of this difficult situation with nobody to console them.”

Speaking to journalists shortly after the Chrism Mass at the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral, Sokoto, yesterday, Kukah said Nigeria was in a war situation, even though the authorities were not willing to admit that. He explained that the situation in Nigeria was inexplicable, stressing that Nigerians have since placed their fate, belief, and hope in God to bring about the needed change in the country.

The clergyman also expressed worry over the activities of fraudulent individuals using religion to compound the woes of citizens by subjecting them to all forms of manipulation.

He said, “The scripture has told us very clearly that there is nothing that is happening to us now that is new, that hasn’t happened before, there is nothing that is new.”

He maintained that the idea of spirituality in any religion was to provide man with moral anchor, saying, “Religion doesn’t make the problem go away and I am saying, for me in the Catholic Church, we have no discount.”

Kukah added, “We are in a very dangerous time when many people and fraudsters are using the message of Christ in a way and manner that may suite the challenges of the moment.”

In another development a resident of Isa local government of Sokoto State, Musa Abdullahi, said it would take the grace of God to eradicate banditry in the region.

“Let me tell you, these people have succeeded by recruiting informants, who tell them the movement of security agencies,” Abdullahi added.

He stated that the insecurity in the North-west had political undertone, stressing that the terrorists are living among the people, “but nobody is willing to expose them.”

He further stressed that the hands of security agencies were tied due to the law of engagement.

Northern Elders Call for Buhari’s Resignation

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF), in a statement signed by its media chief, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, called for the president’s resignation due to the high level of insecurity in the country.

NEF stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration does not appear to have answers to the security challenges that we face.

“We cannot continue to live and die under the dictates of assassins, kidnappers, rapists, and other criminal organisations who have robbed us of our right to live in peace and security.

“Now is the time for President Buhari to seriously consider that option, given his leadership’s spectacular inability to provide security to Nigerians.

“Our Forum recognises the importance of this advice and recognises that we cannot continue to live in these conditions until President Buhari’s term ends in 2023.”

The group expressed dissatisfaction with the incessant killings and attacks almost on a daily basis.

It said, “Killers and other criminals appear to have detected a paralysing vacuum at the highest levels of government, and they have grown more confident and competent in subverting the state and our security.

“Nigerians have shed enough tears and blood without receiving adequate protection from those who are supposed to protect us.”

The forum advised Nigerians to exercise extreme caution when electing their leaders in the upcoming elections, saying the country urgently requires good leaders to lead it back to prosperity.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto

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