President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that Nigeria is being pushed into irrelevance in the world following the incessant wanton killings in the country.
The president gave the warning on Tuesday just as he vowed that the perpetrators of the violence in Kaduna State would not go unpunished.
He made the remarks when he met with senior government officials, security chiefs, traditional rulers, religious, political and community leaders in Kaduna over the violence that left no fewer than 75 people dead.
Buhari said the push towards the nation’s irrelevance was seen in the fact that the world appeared to be unconcerned about the spate of killings in Kaduna despite the figure of casualties.
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He said while the world had been forced to watch and listen to what happened on the recent killing of Saudi Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the situation in Kaduna did not attracted any attention.
His words: ‘‘I observed that more than 75 people were killed in Kaduna alone and I haven’t seen anything about it.
‘‘It means we are pushing ourselves as a nation and a people towards irrelevance, seen by the world itself.’’
Stressing the resolve of the government to deal with those behind the killings, he said strong measures possible would be taken over the case.
‘‘If in the past, they got away scot-free, we shall now hold everyone to account for these latest killings…
‘‘It is unacceptable that criminal elements can visit on citizens the wanton killings recorded in the Kasuwan Magani incident of 18th October 2018 and the unrest around Kaduna metropolis a few days later. This must stop,’’ he said.
The president directed the Nigeria Police Force to remain vigilant in securing communities and diligent in prosecuting criminal offences.
‘‘The Nigerian police are in the frontline of securing communities. For the judiciary, unless the investigations are credible and rapidly done, there is nothing they can do. From now on the Nigeria police, you better watch it, I am going to watch you closely,’’ he said.
President Buhari also appealed to community leaders including ward heads, village heads and traditional rulers to be closer to their people and not to shield those who are planning to wreak havoc on the community from law enforcement agencies.
Commiserating with the government and people of Kaduna State, and families who lost loved ones in the unfortunate incidents, the president paid tribute to the late Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Galadima, eulogising the traditional ruler of Adara chiefdom for serving his community and Kaduna State with dedication.
The president appealed to all who called Kaduna home to do their best to uphold peace in their respective communities, warning that chaos and anarchy would worsen and exacerbate whatever issues were agitating a community.
‘‘Violence shatters and divides people and stifles the prospect of any community that succumbs to its tragic logic.
‘‘The Federal Government commends the efforts of the Kaduna State Government in responding to and managing the crisis. More Federal Security assets are being provided at the request of the Kaduna State Government to help uphold and keep the peace.
‘‘The Federal Government will continue to work to ensure that more security assets are recruited and deployed across the country to protect all citizens going about their lawful business and to reinforce the authority of the government,’’ he said.
President Buhari also welcomed the decision of the Kaduna State Government and its local governments to build and provide facilities for the take-off of more police divisions and civil defence offices in the state.
‘‘On their part, citizens also have a duty to be law-abiding in their conduct and within their communities. There is a need to avoid violence as a tool of negotiation or obtaining advantage, and learn to listen to each other and commit to resolving differences through peaceful means.
‘‘Kaduna, once the home of the Premier and home of the New Nigerian must not earn itself a new name – home of violence. The Federal Security Agencies will hunt and prosecute all those who sponsored these acts of violence,’’ he said.
Noting that individuals and communities have obligations to comply with the law and uphold peace, the president said: ‘‘these obligations include respecting the rights of others to live wherever they choose, to worship freely and to pursue lawful livelihoods anywhere in this country. These are constitutional and human rights that we as a government and people must uphold and defend.’’
The president told the meeting that his administration would continue to do its best to develop human capital and address poverty and inequality in all parts of the country.
‘‘Providing decent education and health are my priority goals. I am delighted with the successful collaboration between federal institutions like the Bank of Industry and the Kaduna State Government to provide vocational and entrepreneurship skills, and low-interest credit to expand economic opportunities,’’ he said.
President Buhari assured the Kaduna State government that the Federal Government would give due consideration to the concerns raised by the governor about the outstanding issues of payment of compensation and resettlement of communities that had lingered since the post-election violence of 2011.