President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to an attack on travellers by gunmen leading to the death of 22 people.
His statement signed by Presidential media aide, Garba Shehu;
“The Presidency condemns 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.”
“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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the State Governor Simon Lalong has warned “trouble makers bent on fomenting trouble in Plateau State to desist as the Government will not allow any form of lawlessness to disrupt the peace of the State.”
Governor Lalong condemned the act and immediately directed security agencies to swiftly identify and arrest the perpetrators while dominating the area to restore calm.
He said, “The attacks on innocent citizens no matter their backgrounds will never be tolerated in Plateau State and those who are found to be behind such attacks will be dealt with decisively to serve as deterrence and restore public order.”
The Governor, according to Makut Macham, his Director of Press and Public Affairs commends security agencies for their immediate response leading to the arrest of some suspects and the restoration of calm to the area.
While commiserating with the families of those affected, the Governor assured all law abiding citizens that security has been beefed up around the area as well as the entire metropolis to forestall further breach of the peace.
He reminds the citizens to “remain vigilant and be security conscious in reporting suspicious persons and behavior within their domains to enable law enforcement agencies respond appropriately.”
The Governor has directed the Secretary to the Government of the State Professor Danladi Atu to visit the areas and ascertain the situation as well as ensure that those injured receive adequate medical attention.
The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) in Plateau, has arrested 12 suspects, over Saturday morning killings at Rukuba road, Jos North Local Government Area of the state. OPSH is responsible for maintaining peace in Plateau and its environs.
Maj. Ishaku Takwa, Media Officer of the operation, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Jos on the attack of a convoy of five buses in which 22 persons were killed and 14 others injured.
“This morning, our troops swiftly responded to distress calls that suspected hoodlums blocked a Junction along Rukuba road in Jos North and attacked some commuters.
“Troops immediately mobilized to the scene and restored normalcy.
“Unfortunately, some persons lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, while others with varying degree of injuries have been evacuated to a medical facility for care.
“So far, 12 suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and troops are on the trail of others, who took part in the heinous act.
“Those arrested are currently in custody for interrogation,” he said.
Takwa said the Commander of the task force, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, urged members of the public to volunteer credible information that would lead to the arrest of other suspects, currently at large.
He said the commander also appealed to residents of the area to be calm, law-abiding and continue with their lawful activities without any fear of intimidation.
He, however, said that security personnel had stepped up patrols in Jos metropolis to maintain peace and security.