President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday reacted to ethnic clashes in parts of the country, stressing that violence cannot be the answer.
The President was reacting to the clashes between Jukuns and Tivs in Taraba State and Fulani, Genjon and Bachama in Adamawa State, which have resulted in arson, injuries, and deaths”.
According to a statement by his Senior Personal Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, President Buhari is saddened by the “needless violent clashes”.
President Buhari, who had in his Easter message urged Nigerians not to lose hope of a greater Nigeria, stressed that violence and bloodshed for whatever reason are unacceptable and condemnable, especially coming as the nation celebrates Easter, with all the lessons of love and peace for humanity.
“Violence has not and cannot be the solution to the resolution of misunderstandings among the people,” the President was quoted as saying.
“Once we abandon reason and good judgment, we are giving violence the chance to take over and make a bad situation more complicated and difficult to resolve.”
To find a lasting solution to the clashes, which worsens the security challenges facing the country, the President expects people within affected communities to play major roles.
“The primary initiative for ending violence once and for all must originate from the local actors involved in these clashes,” he said.
As part of efforts to ensure peace, President Buhari has mandated a religious group, “which has successfully been stitching up broken relationships between several communities in Plateau State”, to work with security agencies in reconciling communities in Kaduna, Taraba and Adamawa States.
The statement did not name the religious group.
Also, the President directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons to scale up their efforts in bringing succour to displaced people.
The military had launched several operations in parts of the country in recent years to combat violence and killings in several states.
Although President Buhari said the intervention by the military has brought calm back to communities, he gave the assurance that “the government will not rest on its oars to provide security for all Nigerians”
He added that the government “will at the same time engage in dialogue with local stakeholders in order to get to the root of the crises”.