President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and outrage over the killing of 16 persons in Omoku, Rivers State and that of a traditional ruler in Sango in Kaduna state.
A traditional ruler, the Etum Numana, Dr Gambo Makama, and his wife in Sango Local Government Area of Kaduna State were killed in the New Year.
The 16 persons, including women and children, who returning from New Year cross-over in Omoku. were confirmed killed by gunmen.
The President, who described the incidents as “reprehensible and unacceptable,” directed law enforcement agencies in both states to intensify their current efforts in order to speedily bring the perpetrators to face the wrath of the law.
“I have always maintained that nothing justifies the taking of the life of an innocent person,” he said, adding that “people in our communities must learn to live peacefully.”
President Buhari appealed to the communities affected not to embark on reprisal attacks, but allow the security agencies to carry out comprehensive investigations to properly punish the culprits.
A statement on Tuesday by Mr. Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), said Buhari commiserates with the families of the victims.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike had placed a bounty to track the gunmen who carried out the attack.
The Governor in reaction to the attack promised to reward anyone who can identify the perpetrators with the sum of N200 million.
Wike said this on Tuesday during a visit to the community, alongside heads of security agencies in the state. He assured the victims of government’s support and also vowed to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.
One of the victims of the attack, who lost her husband and child in the attack told the Governor that the hoodlums stormed her home on the day of the attack and suddenly started shooting anyone in sight.
A combined team of the army, the Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) have since swung into action to ensure arrest the suspects behind the attack.
The senator representing Rivers South-East, Sen. Magnus Abe, has described the killing in the early hours of the New Year day as barbaric and senseless.
A statement by his media aide, Mr Parry Benson, on Tuesday said Abe expressed worries over the re-emergence of violence and crime in the area.
He said it was needless for humans to take the lives others.
“The incident should be condemned by every right thinking Rivers man and woman.
“Rivers communities should not be allowed to become haven for blood thirsty hoodlums,’’ he said.
The senator urged the Nyesom-Wike-led government to assist security agencies with the needed tools to tackle the security challenges bedevilling the state.
“The killing in Omoku is an indication that all is not well, the state government should assist security agencies with the needed tools to tackle these rising state of insecurity.
“The state government must drastically re-engineer the security architecture of the state, and provide funding to fight crime to sop this endless waste of human lives,’’ he said.