After coming under heavy criticism for keeping silent on the killings in Southern Kaduna, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday condoled with residents affected by the violence and directed the military and police to end the crisis in the area.
A statement issued by his media aide, Mr Garba Shehu said the president had over the past week, given instructions for decisive measures aimed at bringing an end to the recurring acts of violence and destruction in the southern part of Kaduna State.
The statement said: “On the directive of President Buhari, the Inspector-General of Police was in the region on Saturday and Sunday to assess the situation first hand.”
Shehu also said that in addition to conventional policemen deployed in the area, a squadron of mobile policemen has now been stationed there.
He said the Nigerian Army was also in the process of setting up two battalions in Southern Kaduna, while the military continues to carry out air surveillance across flash points in the area.
He said the president had equally directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to carry out a joint assessment of the situation with the sister agency in Kaduna, SEMA, to determine the level of response required for urgent aid to the victims of the violence.
“These measures should soon ensure the return of normalcy to the region, while the Kaduna State Government continues its peace building efforts,” the statement added.
He said the president commended the efforts of the Kaduna State Government and the security agencies in the steps taken so far to curtail the violence.
The statement also said Buhari had sent condolences to the people of Southern Kaduna, who have lost loved ones in the recent violence.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina had earlier defended the decision of the president not to speak on the killings in Southern Kaduna.
Adesina, while speaking on a Channels Television programme said that the president did not have to speak on every issue.
Adesina was also criticised for the statement.
Also, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday enjoined faith-based organisations in the country to shun rumours that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was moving to Islamise Nigeria.
Before the general election in 2015, Osinbajo had dismissed fears that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), was secretly plotting to Islamise Nigeria if it won the elections.
Yesterday, he again reaffirmed that stand, stressing that the rumour making the rounds about plans to make Islam the official religion of Nigeria was unfounded as the country “cannot be Islamised”.
Osinbajo emphasised that it was impossible to Islamise the country given the 1999 Constitution that forbids state religion.
He urged religious bodies to channel their energies towards proffering solutions to the numerous challenges facing the country.
The vice-president also challenged Nigerian youths to wake up from their slumber and take advantage of the abundant opportunities in ICT, agriculture and other sectors.
While noting that the opportunities were far much more now than they were in the past, Osinbajo harped on the need for young people to take responsibility for their future and be creative.
He also emphasised the importance of using the internet to acquire knowledge, as well as learning a second language to boost their global competitiveness.
Thanking SCM for the honour, the vice-president solicited the organisation’s assistance in disseminating factual information about the federal government’s policies and programmes.
The National President of SCM, Rev, Eric Ighalo, commended the government for its social intervention programmes such as the N-Power initiative and the conditional transfer scheme.
Ighalo expressed the willingness of the body to partner with government in several areas, including serving as its ambassadors in constituencies.
The SCM national president said that the award was conferred on the vice-president in recognition of his integrity and the outstanding leadership he had demonstrated over the years.
The award presentation, according to him, culminated with the 75th anniversary of the organisation.