President Muhammadu Buhari on tuesday have directed security chiefs in the country to remain vigilant and ensure the protection of lives and property in Plateau State whose death toll have risen to over 135 people including children in the recent gunmen attack.
He also urged traditional and community leaders to complement government efforts by persuading their constituencies to tolerate one another for peace and unity in the country.
Buhari also faulted those who accused him of being silent on killings being carried out by suspected herdsmen in parts of the country.
He said there was injustice in such aspersions.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke during an interactive session with stakeholders in Jos, Plateau State, over the recent attacks that left scores of people dead.
Buhari said people were blaming him for not talking to the herdsmen probably because he looked like them.
The President added, “I will continue to pressurise members of the law enforcement agencies directly under me by the constitution as the Commander-in Chief.
He appealed to Nigerians to avoid inflammatory utterances that could endanger peace or promote conflicts.
The President said, “Whatever is being given to the media, we have to be very responsible about it.
‘‘Take for instance the situation in Benue. The Benue subsistence farmer knows that the Nigerian cattle herder that he knows doesn’t carry nothing more than a stick, occasionally sometimes something to cut grass to feed his cattle.
‘‘But the present herder, I am told, carries AK47 and people are even blaming me for not talking to them because maybe (they say) I look like one of them.
‘‘There is some injustice in these aspersions.”
“About eight days ago, we had five hours security meeting of the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police.
‘‘What happened here in Jos is very bad. The question of leadership, from your household to whatever you are, is justice. The bottom line is justice.
‘‘That is why wherever I go, I will always appeal to the leadership of the communities and the law enforcement agencies, to always have control over their constituencies.”
Buhari, who was accompanied to the meeting by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and his counterparts from Kebbi and Niger, condoled with the affected families, the government and people of the state, and wished those injured a speedy recovery.
Others in his entourage were the ministers of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau; and Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed.
The governor also requested that given the number of villages completely ravaged in the violence, the Federal Government should establish an Emergency Special Intervention Fund to help reconstruct the destroyed communities.