President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the murder of 19 people by unidentified gunmen in Tawari community of Kogi Local Government Area, Kogi State.
“There is no excuse or justification for killing innocent people by anybody or group, and for whatever motive,’’Buhari said in a statement by Malam Garba Shehu.
“The killings and revenge killings will only aggravate the cycle of violence, creating neither safety nor security for any side.
“People should avoid taking the law into their own hands because doing so could make a bad situation worse and undermine the government’s efforts to tackle security challenges.
“I am gravely worried about frequency and temptation of using violence to settle disputes instead of following lawful and amicable means to avoid needless destruction of lives and property,’’ the President added.
The President’s response came few hours after he reassured Nigerians about the planned withdrawal of the military from areas where peace had been restored.
He said it will not be done in a manner that will expose communities to more risks of attacks.
The president said the withdrawal will be gradual and carefully planned, not abrupt or arbitrary to jeopardise the success already recorded by the military.
Reacting to concerns and appeals from governors and community leaders over the proposed withdrawal, President Buhari said the “administration will not abandon citizens in need of protection.”
He urged Nigerians, especially public affairs analysts, to carefully study the statement following a security council meeting with service chiefs that the withdrawal of troops will be done after an “assessment” to determine areas where peace had returned to enable civil authorities assume full control.
President Buhari said where it is determined that the withdrawal will not in any way jeopardize peace already achieved, the military pull out will be in a careful and gradual way.
“You don’t need to worry. We will not expose our people and their communities to harm or danger,” the President assured.
“The withdrawal is to allow the military focus on its primary duty of defending the nation against external aggression. It is the duty of the police to handle internal security since Nigeria is not at war.
“The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps will support the police to provide internal security. When it is time to withdraw, nothing will be rushed,’’ he added.