President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday reaffirms his commitment to end the killings of innocent citizens in the country.
The President gave the assurance when he played host to the leadership of 19 Northern State of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) including that of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), at the State House, Abuja.
Buhari who revealed he cannot support the harming or killing of the citizens he was elected to protect, also used the special opportunity to thank the group for taking the time to pay him a visit. Stating that the recent killings in Benue, Zamfara and lately Plateau are wicked, condemnable and completely unacceptable acts.
In his words, “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.
“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.
“I, therefore, seek your support as clerics and religious leaders to join hands with this administration and give us your full support. As you all know, deploying law enforcement agencies is fully our responsibility as a government while creating the platform and mechanisms for dialogue is a collective effort.
“The military and police have arrested hundreds of suspects across the various flash-points in the region and several prosecutions are going on. 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 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?
“Secondly, the problems in all these areas, as you all know, are historical. There is no administration that has not had to contend with killings in these same areas over the years.”
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Dr Pam had enumerated some demands from the Christian community in Northern Nigeria, including an urgent review of the nation’s security architecture; rebuilding of communities ravaged by the attacks and provision of adequate security for farmers in the region.
The cleric, among others, also challenged the Federal government to encourage herders to acquire land for ranching across the country as a means of private business investment.