The killings across the country threaten Nigeria’s nationhood, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.
He promised to ensure they are stopped and those indicted brought to justice, The Nation reports.
The President, according to The Nation, spoke in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday during the Ninth Assembly of the National Council of traditional rulers. It was with the theme:‘Community Policing as a Catalyst to Crime Prevention – The Role of Traditional Rulers.’ He was represented by Minister of Interior Abdurahman Dambazau.
Buhari said: ”We were seriously heaving a sigh of relief over the degradation and dismantling of Boko Haram, but we are now witnessing increasing cases of kidnapping, cultism, ethnic militia activities and herdsmen/ farmers’ conflicts.
“I am saddened and very worried over the persistent killings and kidnapping across the country, especially the wastage of innocent lives in different parts of the country, by whatever name, it is sad and particularly condemnable. I have therefore directed that no efforts should be spared in identifying and bringing to justice, all those who have been involved in these killings.
“I have earlier directed the Army to relocate to Borno state to ensure that the activities of Boko Haram is brought to an end, likewise, I have directed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue state to ensure that the herdsmen incessant killings are not only contained but the culprits are brought to justice.
“These actions amount to declaration of war on our peaceful co-existence and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian State and threaten her sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“As a responsible government, we will never tolerate or condone all trouble makers, criminals and killers; they should be ready to face the consequences of their acts. While the Federal Government is doing everything possible to tackle the root cause of violence and crime in Nigeria, we expect citizens to respect and obey the laws governing our society.”
The Chairman of NCTRN and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar, said: “As we are meeting, if what is happening is failure of governance, we will discuss it in details and come up with an appropriate report to help government and the Nigerian society.
He said the traditional rulers are capable of saying things the way they are without sentiment. “We existed before 1914, so we have seen it all. We are there permanently unlike the political office holders that have tenure.
“We must close ranks as traditional rulers to help build Nigeria;
“Let us build the comradeship we have among us down to the communities and let’s mean what we say, and say what we mean.
“Our coming together is unique. It implies that nothing can divide us. So, let us reduce the tension in the country because this is the time for statesmen to work for Nigeria.
“Let us stand and face the people that want to destroy our country,” he added.
The Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, said “some sections of Nigeria are aggrieved and some feel oppressed; let us come together and take up this challenge so that no one will blame us.
“Let us put politics aside, engage in peer review, apply sense of right and wrong, and speak the truth.
“The responsibility lies on our head; we must stop the blame game and stop talking the talk but walk the talk.”
King Dandeson Jaja, the Amayanabo of Opobo and Chairman, Local Organising Committee, said Nigerians were eager to hear from the traditional rulers.
Jaja urged the federal government and the royal fathers to rise above ethnicity and sentiments to tackle the challenges in the country.
“The Federal Government should tackle the economic challenges and deteriorating security situation in the country,” Jaja said.
River State Governor Nyesom Wike said it would be ungodly for traditional rulers to maintain silence while killings are going on in the country.
“Indeed the Nation is fast becoming a country in shambles, with the numerous multi- dimensional crisis it is facing, traditional institutions must wake up to their responsibilities by lending their voices to the national agitations for true federalism, resource control, greater delineation of power, as well as stated and community policing and good governance in the country.
“At a time like this, it will be ungodly for mean men to remain silent while nation is dangerously shamble…
He called on the Federal Government to decentralize policing, adding that the security of the nation would be achieved if the governors are given charge to control the security of their states.
He said: “The Benue killings have exposed the weakness of our system centralization of policing, because the states governors do not have the right to take charge of the security.”
Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris, in his keynoted address noted that the issues of community policing were relevant to the security challenges and in line with President Buhari’s resolve to provide adequate security to the nation.
Idris noted that effected policing of the nation cannot be achieved easily without the assistance of the traditional rulers, adding that they (traditional rulers) command the respect of their subjects.
He called for a synergy between the traditional rulers and the security agencies, adding that the rulers know their citizens know their subjects and can help in provision of useful information that would help the police achieve its mandate.