President Muhammadu Buhari has declared the recent attacks on churches in the country unacceptable, saying perpetrators were out to put the country under religious stress.
He described the perpetrators as cowards, weak and wicked men with guns murdering, in cold blood, unarmed women and children at their places of worship.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said: “From the tragedy in Owo two weeks ago that shook our nation to its core, to the killings and kidnappings just this weekend in Kaduna State, it is clear that there is a design by wicked people to put the country under religious stress.”
President Buhari said he believes that “our religious freedom, our diversity, is what makes Nigeria great. It is this diversity that gives Nigeria its strength. That is why Nigeria’s enemies seek to destroy it, by putting us against one another.
“We will not let them. The nation will not be distracted or divided by these obviously planned and politically motivated criminal outrages.
“The perpetrators are cowards; weak and wicked men with guns murdering, in cold blood, unarmed women and children at their places of worship.”
Having noted the starkness of the contrast between the actions of those hateful cowards and those of true Nigerians in the aftermath of Owo, the President observed that “seeing the crowd of Nigerians voluntarily rushing to donate blood after the attack, thronging the local hospitals, even in the midst of mourning, I was proud of my country. I was filled with hope.
“As for the cowards, they will be punished for their crimes. We will bring them to justice. Rest assured that the full might of Nigeria’s formidable security and intelligence forces are involved in that endeavor.
“For now, I urge all Nigerians to come together in prayer-whether Christian, Muslim or any of our great faiths- let us hold the victims and their families in our hearts and minds.
“Let us show the cowards who seek to divide us along religious lines that we will not be divided. Let us show them that Nigerians will continue to cherish what we share while respecting each other’s differences. Let us show them that Nigerians will never be bullied by cowards, extremists or terrorists.”