The Presidency last night condemned the attack earlier Saturday on travellers from a religious event in Bauchi, passing through Jos, the Plateau State Capital and regrets the reported deaths of at least twenty-two persons with several others injured in that ambush on their travelling party, just as Governor Lalong of Plateau State has imposed curfew in the Jos North are of the state.
The condemnation was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu last night.
The statement read in part: “It is widely known that Plateau State has been one of the states affected by herder-farmer clashes, which have, in a significant way, been curtailed following the intense peace-building efforts of the administration of Governor Simon Lalong.
” However, to be clear, this is not an agriculturalist-on-pastoralist confrontation – but rather a direct, brazen and wickedly motivated attack on members of a community exercising their rights to travel freely and to follow the faith of their choosing.
“With the evident preparedness of their attackers, it is clear this was a well-conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers not an opportunist ambush.
“The Presidency offers condolences to the families of the victims and continues to liaise closely with the local authorities – including security, the police, and governmental agencies.
” These kinds of attacks on our country’s citizens are unacceptable, heinous, and stand in complete contradiction to the teachings of the great religions of our nation.
“The Presidency stands steadfast with both Christians and Muslims at this time in condemnation of this latest attack and expects and insists that justice is swiftly – but fairly – delivered to the perpetrators.
“Make no mistake about it: in line with my commitment to protect all Nigerians, I have ordered our security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this gruesome massacre of innocent travellers and bring them to justice,” President Buhari said.
It further said,” As the facts of the sad incident continue to unfold, the Presidency commends the ongoing efforts by the Governors of Plateau, Bauchi, and Ondo; the Sultan of Sokoto His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi as well as a number of notable Christian and Muslim leaders as they intensify efforts to calm down the situation.”
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Meanwhile, the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC has condemned the killing saying:” It is barbaric. We hereby demand the rounding up of all members of the Irigwe Christian militia. They must be brought to justice. They ran away from the crime scene when they saw security men approaching. But they had participated in the killing of twenty two (22) and wounding of fourteen (14) before taking to their heels.
“It is not possible for the six who were arrested to have been the only attackers. Only six attackers could not have surrounded people who filled five buses. The rest must be fished out.
“We reject the crocodile tears and lies of Governors Lalong of Jos and Akeredolu of Ondo State who claimed that the attack was a case of mistaken identity. This excuse is the first sign of executive conspiracy. It is a shame that Akeredolu will trivialise the massacre of citizens of his own state simply because the victims happen to be Muslims. #Muslimlivesmatter.
“How can anybody say Muslims from Ikare in Ondo State were killed in such a large number due to ‘mistaken identity’? That is baldadash. It is unthinkable. Who do the Christian terrorists have the right to attack and kill for their pleasure and who should they spare? This kind of excuse has exposed the mentality of the two governors. They are shedding crocodile tears.
“Lalong’s body language makes it difficult for us to trust him. He will sweep this case under the carpet at the first opportunity because his kinsmen are the culprits and he has a history of covering up their crimes. The killing of General Alkali is still fresh in our memory, particularly the attempt at coverup, the comedy at the pond and the eventual intervention of the governor who ran to army headquarters to beg for forgiveness.