THE President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday regretted that Nigerians had shed enough blood over issues that could have been peacefully resolved.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while reacting to the violence in Gombe State arising from the Billiri chieftaincy tussle.
The statement was titled, ‘Billiri chieftaincy tussle: President Buhari condemns violence, calls for maximum restraint to avoid escalation’.
Shehu quoted the President as expressing “great shock and deep concern” over the incident.
The President said, “I’m seriously disturbed by the outbreak of violence in Gombe State and call on the parties involved to exercise maximum restraint to avoid escalation.
“The easy resort to violence is uncalled for because there are enough avenues to resolve differences amicably without threatening law and order.
“In a circle of violence, there are no winners, except losers. Muslims and Christians should avoid the temptation of resorting to violence in order to express their grievances.
“Nigerians have shed enough blood over issues that could have been peacefully resolved. I appeal to the two parties to sheathe their swords for the sake of peaceful coexistence. Gombe has enjoyed relative religious harmony for decades and you shouldn’t allow hoodlums destroy this positive record.
In a related development, following the burning of a mosque, home of Galadima Tangale by suspected hoodlums and destruction of shops in Billiri LGA, churches hurriedly closed services in some parts of the state capital on Sunday.
Some churches in the state metropolis claimed they got security intelligence to close earlier.
Recall that for about three days, women protested over what they termed government delay tactics in declaring the next Mai Tangale since the kingmakers completed the election involving three candidates.
Addressing his congregation, the pastor in charge of MercyLand RCCG, Tunfure, Akko LGA, Samuel Elebiyo, said the worldwide prayer walk called by the church leadership would be suspended, adding that the decision was in line with the directives of security agencies.
Elebiyo said, “If Pastor (Enoch) Adeboye, were to be here, he would obey the government. So, we will just take two prayer points here and close. The Police and Navy in their emblem vehicles came here and they said they received intelligence that churches might be attacked because of the Billiri crisis.”
In another parish monitored within the metropolis, members, instead of embarking on prayer walk, also restricted their prayer to the premises before disengaging.
When contacted, the North-East chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, Abari Kalla, dismissed the scare, saying, “I’m not aware.”
Governor Inuwa Yahaya had on Saturday said the curfew in the troubled area would persist, while suspending any further announcement of the substantive monarch.