President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and outrage at reports of killings of innocent persons in Omoku, Rivers, and the traditional ruler of Numana, Kaduna State, the Etum Numana, Dr Gambo Makama, and his wife.
The traditional ruler and his wife were killed in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State in the New Year.
The President, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Tuesday, described the incidents as “reprehensible and unacceptable”.
Buhari directed law enforcement agencies in both states to intensify their current efforts in order to speedily bring the perpetrators to face the wrath of the law.
“I have always maintained that nothing justifies the taking of the life of an innocent person.
“People in our communities must learn to live peacefully,” he said.
The president appealed to the communities affected not to embark on reprisal attacks.
He enjoined them to allow the security agencies to carry out comprehensive investigations to properly punish the culprits.
Buhari commiserated with the families of the victims and wished the injured faster recovery.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has placed a N200million bounty for information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of the Omoku massacre.
Governor Wike spoke on Tuesday after he led the Rivers State Security Council on a fact finding/sympathy visit to the families of the deceased. He also visited those injured during the attack.
The governor also visited the sites of the crime where he received briefing from the Nigerian Police Area Commander, Mr Mike Nwafor and the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (ONELGA) Local Government Council Caretaker Chairman, Mr Olisa Osi.
He said: “We have placed a N200million bounty for relevant information that will lead to the arrest of all those involved in this unfortunate act of violence.
“Anybody who is connected to this crime in any way will have his/her houses forfeited to the Government. This place has been peaceful before this unfortunate mayhem.
“We will not allow another case of this violence. We have mobilised the security agencies to take the battle to the perpetrators,” he said.
Governor Wike said all those linked to the Omoku violence will face the full weight of the law.
“You cannot shed innocent blood and go free. We are working with all the security agencies to do everything possible to arrest the perpetrators. They must pay for this”, he said.
The governor commiserated with the families of the deceased, saying that the State Government will support them in burying their loved ones. He added that the state government will also settle the medical bills of those receiving treatment at different hospitals.
He said: “I am pained by this unfortunate mayhem . Enough is enough.”
The governor and the service commanders also visited the residence of wanted cultist, Don Danny where the Rivers State Governor commended security agencies for working hard to improve the security of the state.
Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Mr Osi Olisa informed the governor that 17 persons lost their lives as a result of the attack.
In an interview, Prophetess Comfort Ordu who lost her husband and three of her children, said they were dragged out of their home and killed by the perpetrators.
Some of those murdered in cold blood include: Favour Odili, Saviour Amirinze, Augustine Ordu, Precious Ordu, Wisdom Ordu, Jennifer Ohia and Innocent Ohia. Others are: Reuben Idogu, Baby Idogu, Ngozi Ogbuanukwu, Oyi Ogadinma, Nwakaego Ogadinma and Uche Onige.
Governor Wike was accompanied to Omoku by the Brigade Commander of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General A.A Bande, the Commander of Joint Task Force, Colonel M.N Madi, Rivers State Deputy Police Commissioner, Ahmed Magaji and Rivers State Director of the Department of State Services, Mr Tosin Ajayi.
Omoku killings: Rivers police command vows to bring killers to justice
The Police Command in Rivers said that it is working hard to ensure that those that killed the 14 worshipers in Omoku on Jan. 1 were arrested and brought to Justice.
The command’s spokesman, Mr Nnamdi Omini, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that though no arrest had been made, some clues had been gotten.
NAN reports that gunmen had attacked and killed 14 people that were returning from crossover church service in Omoku in the early hours of Jan. 1 and injured 12 others.
“The police will ensure that the victims get justice even in their graves.
“No stone will be left unturned in the course of our investigations. The long arms of the law will catch up with the killers,” Omini said.
According to him, the killing was a rude shock to the command because strategic security measures had been put in place before the Christmas celebrations.
He said that security had been tightened at the entry and exit points in the state, while vehicular and foot patrols were increased in the state among other security measures.
The police spokesman said that the pre-Christmas security strategy had worked until the early hours of Jan 1, when the hoodlums struck at Omoku.
He, however, assured members of the affected community that such killings would be prevented in the future.
According to him, Amoured Personnel Carriers had been stationed at strategic positions in the community,while the command was working out a new security strategy to prevent crime in the state in 2018 and beyond.
Omoni said the police had raided two criminals’ hideouts in the community, and advised the youth to abandon crime and engage in meaningful endeavors.