The Plateau State Government has imposed a curfew on Bassa, Jos North and Jos South local government areas, following Saturday’s attack on commuters in Jos North Local Government Area, where 23 persons were reportedly killed and 23 injured. At least 20 people suspected to have been involved in the attack have, so far, been arrested, an official said.
The federal government and the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, have also condemned the attack and called for the perpetrators to be punished.
PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday reported the police confirming that 22 people were killed and 14 injured during the attack on travellers in Gada-biyu, in the northern part of Plateau State.
Governor Simon Lalong in a statement by his spokesperson, Makut Macham, on Sunday said the curfew started on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
” I have directed the imposition of curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South Local Government Areas, commencing 6pm to 6am,from today, 14th August 2021.
“The curfew shall remain in place, subject to further review by the State Security Council,” he said.
The governor warned against violation of the order, saying security personnel would take all measures to maintain law and order in the affected areas.
He said the state government would continue to monitor the situation and take further action if necessary, to ensure the safety of lives and property.
Mr Lalong also called for calm and appealed to residents to avoid any action or utterances that would further inflame the situation, saying security agencies are conducting investigations on the attack.
“So far, 20 suspects have been arrested and the security agencies are conducting investigations to get to the bottom of the matter,” he assured.
He sympathised with the families of those who lost their loved ones, and those injured as a result of the unfortunate incident .
Presidency condemns attacks
The presidency, through a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Saturday, condemned the attack.
According to him, such “attacks on innocent citizens are unacceptable, heinous, and stand in complete contradiction to the teachings of the great religions.
“It is widely known that Plateau State has been one of the states affected by herder-farmer clashes, which have, in a significant way, been curtailed following the intense peace-building efforts of the administration of Governor Simon Lalong.
“However, to be clear, this is not an agriculturalist-on-pastoralist confrontation – but rather a direct, brazen and wickedly motivated attack on members of a community exercising their rights to travel freely and to follow the faith of their choosing.
“With the evident preparedness of their attackers, it is clear this was a well-conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers not an opportunist ambush.
“These kinds of attacks on our country’s citizens are unacceptable, heinous, and stand in complete contradiction to the teachings of the great religions of our nation.
“The Presidency stands steadfast with both Christians and Muslims at this time in condemnation of this latest attack and expects and insists that justice is swiftly but fairly delivered to the perpetrators.’’
The statement also quoted President Buhari as saying: “Make no mistake about it: in line with my commitment to protect all Nigerians, I have ordered our security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this gruesome massacre of innocent travellers and bring them to justice.’’
The president commended the efforts by the governors of Plateau, Bauchi, and Ondo, the Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar III, Dahiru Bauchi and Christian and Muslim leaders to calm the situation.
The presidency offered condolences to the families of the victims.
Mr Shehu said the federal government would continue to liaise closely with the local authorities including the policeand governmental agencies as the facts of the sad incident continue to unfold.
In his reaction, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi expressed his sympathy with the families of the victims of the attack.
Mr Bello expressed his disgust over the incident, giving his condolences to the government and people of Plateau State in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed.
Mr Bello, who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Security of the Northern Governors’ Forum, described the attack as inhuman, barbaric and unwarranted.
He said the cause of the attack must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to book.
The governor, however, called for calm among the people of Plateau, urging them to refrain from revenge.
He assured that the government was on top of the situation, admonishing that Nigerians should live in peace with one another, irrespective of their religious beliefs and ethnic differences.
The statement explained that the victims were travelling from Bauchi State to Ondo State when the gunmen descended on them, killing many and injuring others.
Mr Bello also expressed his sympathy to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the government and people of Ondo State over the incident.
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