FG must address killings –Atiku
• Incessant clashes tearing Nigeria apart, says Gowon
Iheanacho Nwosu; Okwe Obi, Abuja
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the Federal Government to step up efforts to end killings across the country.
Atiku said killing of innocent people, especially in Taraba, Benue and Zamfara, has reached a terrifying height which only government can end.
The former vice president said this in a statement to commemorate this year’s Democracy Day.
He said it is painful that Nigerians who sacrificed to restore democracy in the country are being murdered, daily, by criminals with government doing little to end the bloodshed.
“These Nigerians have been killed in the continuing murderous rampage of criminal elements across the country but especially in Borno and Yobe states, and the Benue River Valley, stretching from Adamawa through Taraba to the confluence of Kogi and Benue, including Nasarawa, Plateau, Southern Kaduna and Zamfara.
“Others have been killed by armed robbers, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other marauding bandits.
“The killings have even extended to sacred places of worship where innocent Imams and Christian clergy and worshipers are slaughtered.”
“This carnage has gone on for too long and must stop.
“In a letter that I sent to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, recently, on these killings, I pointed out, and I repeat it here, that only government can stop these senseless killings if we are to avoid major and further damage to the fabric of our fragile unity.
“The recent history of Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and Central African Republic, among others, should be strident warning to all of us, especially those in government, whose primary responsibility is the protection of the citizens, but who have been dithering, making contradictory and ridiculous excuses and engaging in diversionary finger-pointing.”
On elections, Abubakar said: “The integrity of Nigeria’s electoral process and ability of government to be accountable to the people are the minimum requirements to appreciate the sacrifices of those who gave their all; for the enthronement of democracy in the country.
“Nigeria’s journey to democracy was a tortuous one that claimed lives and limbs of many a patriot and it is incumbent upon us, as beneficiaries of their sacrifices, to ensure that we advance the cause of democracy, through transparent elections and making our governmental institutions work for the people.”
Meanwhile, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has said clashes in different parts of country are tearing the country apart and that they have further eroded citizens’ confidence to co-exist.
Gowon said this at a book presentation titled: Survived to serve: The encapsulating story of an elder statesman, in memory of Dr. Chris Shu’aibu Abashiya, a former commissioner of Works and Transport in Kaduna State.
“We must rise above ethnicity and other social ills that have become fashionable and are eroding the foundation of our existence as a nation.
“We are in very trying times and unprecedented level of unemployment, insecurity, incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers across country which are eroding our confidence in our ability to coexist peacefully; as diverse people.”
“Government must do its utmost best to restore the sense of peace that we all know as Nigerians for so many years,” said Gowon.
He also disclosed that “the country needs men andwomen with quintessential qualities of Chris Shu’aibu who was unyielding in his conviction, tolerance, compassionate.”
Vice Chancellor of Bingham University, Prof. William Qurix, who was also the book reviewer, advised Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of hardwork.
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