The Presidency has condemned the Saturday attacks on travellers from a religious event in Bauchi, passing through Rukuba, near Jos, Plateau.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, on Saturday in Abuja, regretted the reported deaths of at least 22 persons with several others injured as a result of the attacks.
According to him, these kinds of attacks on innocent citizens are unacceptable, heinous, and stand in complete contradiction to the teachings of the great religions.
Shehu said: “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.
“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.’’
Shehu also quoted President Buhari as saying: “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.’’
The president commended the ongoing efforts by the Governors of Plateau, Bauchi, and Ondo; the Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar III and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi as well as a number of notable Christian and Muslim leaders as they intensified efforts to calm down the situation.
The presidency offered condolences to the families of the victims.
According to the presidential aide, the Federal Government will continue to liaise closely with the local authorities including security, the police, and governmental agencies as the facts of the sad incident continue to unfold.