Jos — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the crisis on the Plateau should not be given a religious coloration, even as he reiterated his commitment to protect the lives and properties of every Nigerian.
He stated this yesterday after a closed-door meeting with government officials and traditional leaders in Plateau State on the recent resurgence of killings that claimed several lives and properties in parts of the state.
Buhari was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; Governor of Niger State Sani Bello, and his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu. Also in the president's entourage were the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
The president said having sought to be president four times, "it is my responsibility to protect the lives and properties of every Nigerian and I cannot run away from it."
While commiserating with those who lost their loved ones, President Buhari said he had directed all security agents to put an end to the killings across the country adding that anyone found with weapons must be arrested and prosecuted.
Speaking earlier, Governor Simon Bako Lalong said the current attacks in the state were disturbing and alarming because they left behind a trail of painful loss of over 200 people besides the humanitarian challenges confronting thousands of displaced persons whose houses and crops had been burnt and completely destroyed.
Lalong noted that the President's visit coming less than 24 hours after that of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was comforting and gives the people the confidence to open up their grief.
He however warned that the blocking of roads and killings of innocent commuters will not be tolerated and that security operatives have taken drastic measures to ensure they apprehend any youth involved in such dastardly act.
The governor expressed concern at the kinds of sophisticated weapons used in the attacks stressing that from the evidences on ground and the narrations of victims, the arms were not conventional to "our environment for self-defence but reflective of a terrorist invasion."
Lalong urged the president to direct security agencies to immediately commence arms mop up in areas of conflicts and subscribe to a house to house and community to community search for illegal weapons that have been stockpiled.