Following the recent killing of unarmed travelers in Jos, Plateau State, the Coalition of 52 Northern Groups, CNG, has said it will not tolerate any further ambush and attack on the region’s highways.
The groups, which gave the warning at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, called for a thorough investigation, arrest, and prosecution of the those behind the Jos incident that claimed 22 lives.
Spokesman of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, also cautioned political and religious leaders against making unguarded remarks that could instigate unnecessary reprisals.
He said, “The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has taken stock of the incessant attacks and unrelenting deadly highway ambushes and cold blood massacre of innocent Nigerians travelling through most Plateau State communities and major highways.
“CNG notes, especially with utter perplexity and concern the recent incident when unarmed Muslims who were in a convoy of five buses were waylaid at Rukaba, Jos, forced to disembark and dozens of them killed in cold blood. The harmless passengers were returning to Ikare, Ondo from the annual Dhikr prayer in Bauchi when they were waylaid by the notorious Irigwe Christian militia.
“As the representative of various interests groups from Northern Nigeria, the CNG has watched and studied these events carefully leading to the inevitable observations that main actors in the perpetuated highway ambushes and killings have been left on the scene over the last decade to exploit the huge vacuum in the government’s political will and capacity to arrest the escalation of avoidable conflicts.
“With matters having reached a point whereby silence has become complicity and inaction no longer an option, CNG hereby makes the following stand of ours known:
“We categorically warn the perpetrators of such highway murders and their sponsors that people’s patience has reached the point where any further ambush and attack would not be tolerated henceforth.
“We demand a thorough investigation, arrest and diligent prosecution of the criminals that block and kill innocent travelers on such public highways as the Rukuba junction in Gada biyu, Abuja and Barikin Ladi roads in Plateau State and other locations in Kaduna and Benue States.
“We, also, demand full investigation into the roles being played by the utterances of some political and religious leaders in fanning the embers of violence in parts of northern Nigeria and elsewhere.
“We demand action from the federal government to ensure a permanent end to the incessant highway attacks, including the arrest of traditional rulers and all elected representatives from the communities that harbour the terrorists, and where resistance is shown, the communities be demolished and replaced by military posts.
“We demand the promulgation of special penal laws for the punishment of such offences that involve the ambush and killings of innocent public highway users.
“We demand the setting up of special courts for the trial of those involved in such unjustifiable blockade and mass murder of innocent civilians.”
Credit: Vanguard News Nigeria