President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to catch and severely punish the culprits responsible for the recent spate of violence that led to the death of over 80 people in Kaduna State.
The president paid a condolence visit to the state on Tuesday, October 30 and held a meeting with state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and other relevant stakeholders including senior government officials, security chiefs, traditional rulers, religious, political and community leaders.
The president's visit comes on the heels of the October 26 killing of abducted monarch, Agom Adara, Maiwada Galadima. Four people, including a police officer, were killed when the monarch, his wife and driver were abducted at Maikyali village, along Kaduna-Kachia road, in Kachia local government area of the state on October 19.
His abduction happened in the wake of another crisis that claimed the lives of 55 people during a communal clash at Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru LGA.
The wave of violence is believed to have started after two people were killed in a market clash between Hausa Muslim and Adara Christian youths following a dispute among wheelbarrow porters.
A second attack was reported to have been carried out by Adara youths who reportedly mobilised and attacked Hausa residents on Thursday, October 18.
"Most of the killings were done in the second attack which took the Hausa community off guard,"Muhammadu Bala, a Kasuwar Magani resident who lost his home to the crisis, told AFP.
With curfew declared across the affected areas, the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) disclosed that a further 23 people were killed in various parts of Kaduna metropolis during another wave of violence that took place on Sunday, October 21.
Perpetrators won't go scot-free - Buhari
In a statement signed by the president's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, he expressed displeasure with the tragic loss of lives and property in the state.
"If in the past, they got away scot-free, we shall now hold everyone to account for these latest killings. It is unacceptable that criminal elements can visit on citizens the wanton killings recorded in the Kasuwan Magani incident of 18th October 2018 and the unrest around Kaduna metropolis a few days later. This must stop," he said.
The president further called on residents of the state to have more respect for the sanctity of human life and give peace a chance to reign.
He said, "Violence shatters and divides people and stifles the prospect of any community that succumbs to its tragic logic.
"The Federal Government commends the efforts of the Kaduna State Government in responding to and managing the crisis. More Federal Security assets are being provided at the request of the Kaduna State Government to help uphold and keep the peace.
"The Federal Government will continue to work to ensure that more security assets are recruited and deployed across the country to protect all citizens going about their lawful business and to reinforce the authority of the government.
"On their part, citizens also have a duty to be law-abiding in their conduct and within their communities. There is a need to avoid violence as a tool of negotiation or obtaining advantage, and learn to listen to each other and commit to resolving differences through peaceful means.
"Kaduna, once the home of the Premier and home of the New Nigerian must not earn itself a new name - home of violence. The Federal Security Agencies will hunt and prosecute all those who sponsored these acts of violence."
He said citizens are obligated to respect the rights of others to live wherever they choose, to worship freely and to pursue lawful livelihoods anywhere in the country.
Buhari issues stern warning to Police Force
President Buhari also called on the Nigeria Police Force to remain vigilant in securing communities and be diligent in prosecuting criminal offences.
"The Nigerian police are in the frontline of securing communities. For the judiciary, unless the investigations are credible and rapidly done, there is nothing they can do. From now on the Nigeria police, you better watch it, I am going to watch you closely."
Dozens of suspects have been arrested in connection with the waves of violence in the affected areas.
The president commiserated with the government and people of Kaduna State, and families who lost loved ones to the spate of violence across the state. He eulogised Galadima for serving his community and Kaduna State with dedication until his death.
He also assured the Kaduna State government that the Federal Government will give due consideration to the concerns raised by Governor El-Rufai about the outstanding issues of payment of compensation and resettlement of communities that have lingered since the post-election violence of 2011.