The Federal Government has said the recent killings in some parts of the country must not be politicised.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said this in Abuja yesterday at the Inter-denominational church service for the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration.
Osinbajo said the government had realised that some people wanted to benefit politically from the killings in Benue, Rivers, Adamawa, Plateau and other states.
The vice president said those people were stoking the embers of ethnicity and religion through hate speeches.
Osinbajo said playing dangerous politics with these killings could pose a threat to the nation’s unity and stability.
He said the government will defend the unity and territorial integrity of Nigeria and resist actions aimed at breaking the bond of nationhood “paid for so dearly by the blood and sweat of the armed forces.”
He said the government also has an obligation to defend the freedoms and rights that form the fundamentals of nationhood; including the rights to life, livelihood, liberty and freedom of worship.
Osinbajo stated: “We have seen even recently the killings that have resulted in attacks of herdsmen on farmers and communities and also where communities have attacked herdsmen.
“The state of violence and loss of lives in Rivers State, the Badoo killings in Lagos and Ogun; the president has ordered the police and armed forces to deal decisively with these killings to ensure that the perpetrators are found and punished.
He has also, through various strategic meetings, tasked security agencies to work to find lasting solutions to these issues.
“But we recognize that as dangerous and deadly, as heartless as these killings are, (there) is also the danger of allowing politics to play a part and to sometimes, as they say, pour petrol into already burning fire.
“We must not permit the politicization of this tragedy. He said one of the reasons the Boko Haram strifelasted for years was because of the politicization of the insurgency.
“There were those who were planning to benefit politically from the tragedy and they painted the opposition then as the perpetrator.
“Again we have seen some today who want to benefit politically from the killings of women and children in Adamawa, Benue, Jos and several other places, stoking the embers of ethnicity and religion.
“By their hate speeches, they want to fix their criminal acts of a few individuals on the whole tribe and a whole people and will want to create religious crisis if we allow.
“Our obligation is to stop them from playing dangerous politics that could threaten our unity and stability just as we continue to enforce the peace in the troubled areas. “As Bishop Kwasi said, it is the poor and helpless that suffer the most in crisis and it is to this poor and helpless that we have sworn that we will protect and defend.
“The armed forces remain the bastion and exemplar of national unity. Nigerian men and women of every tribe and religion standing side by side in the greatest danger, being harmed and dying, side by side under one flag, in the defence of one nation. No attainment is worthwhile unless some are prepared to sacrifice for it, make the ultimate sacrifice.
“Our nation today stands as one to honour those who have paid and continue to pay their price, night and day for our safety and for the safety of our land. And we pledge that the labour of these heroes past and present shall not be in vain.”
The vice president reminded Christians about Christ’s gospel of preaching peace and praying for enemies.
“For those of us, who are gathered here, we are Christians and one of the demands of our faith is that we must preach the gospel. When we preach the gospel not in words but in action, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ that obliges us that we pray for our enemies and that we continue to work and make sacrifices even for those who despitefully use us.
“It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that commands us to ensure that we do not repay evil but that we repay evil with good. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that says vengeance is not ours, but of the Lord’s. It is the same gospel that reminds us that no battle is ours.
“And so it is for us as Christian, for us as born again Christians to ensure that we preach this gospel of love, this gospel of self sacrifice, this gospel that has changed the world and the gospel that continues to change the world. It is not a gospel of hate, it is a gospel of love, and is a gospel of sacrificial love especially one that was demonstrated by the almighty God Himself by allowing His son to be shamed and killed for all of us.
“I pray that our nation will rise together, I pray that the bloodshed we have seen in our nation will cease … and that together we will build a great nation from all parts of this nation whatever our tribes maybe, whatever our religion maybe, whatever our hopes maybe.
We must work together as Nigerians. God bless the armed forces, God bless the 36 states of Nigeria and God bless federal capital Territory and God bless Nigeria,”