- Warns politicians against inciting violence
former military president, general Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), laments the New Year massacre of armless innocent citizens in Benue State and other parts of Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen. The former leader cautioned against further bloodshed in the country, admonishing security personnel to render their services without political sentiments. The former president also solicited the cooperation of governments at all levels, religious leaders, traditional rulers and social activists in promoting national security.
Benue State was a theatre of terrorist attack by Fulani herdsmen on January 1, 2018, in which 73 persons were killed.
IBB in a statement at the weekend -Stop the killings now – decried that the nation had witnessed so much bloodshed that it now requires urgent action to be stopped, urging security agencies to remain apolitical, neutral and focused in the task of securing Nigeria.
“It is customary to observe the Armed Forces Day on the 15th January every year to remember Officers and Men of the Nigerian Armed Forces who laid down their lives for the unity of our country.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on Nigerians to demonstrate our appreciation of the courage of these gallant fallen heroes by appreciating their contribution and providing supports for the welfare and upkeep of the families they left behind, especially their widows and children,” he remarked.
The statement further read: “At this period, where our nation is faced with myriads of challenges of terrorism, communal clashes, kidnapping, cultism and gangsterism, among other criminalities, we should cooperate and support our security with relevant information and intelligence to help in tackling the problems.
“As a people, we should inculcate our cultural values that promote good conduct, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. We should eschew hate speech, discrimination and other vices that trigger senseless violence and bloodshed.
“We have witnessed so much bloodshed through communal clashes and conflicts that need urgent actions to stop them now.
“As we enter the electioneering period, I urge our political office holders as well as politicians from all political parties to be conscious of their campaign slogans and messages by ensuring that they are geared towards peaceful participation and constructive engagements of the electorate.
“I must also call on governments at all levels, religious leaders, traditional rulers, social activists and the media to serve as national vanguards in resolving some of the recent disturbing incidents affecting our national security.
“For the members of the armed forces and security agencies, I urge them to remain apolitical, neutral and focus on the ethics of discipline which is the hallmark of their profession.
“In conclusion, I wish to, once again, express my condolence to the families of members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives in their effort to keep Nigeria secured in various military operations. May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace.”