President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday admitted that Nigeria would have erupted in turmoil, if a former Head of State, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, had died during separate attacks on them in Kaduna on Wednesday.
He said Nigerians would not have celebrated the Eid-el-Fitri because a major calamity would have befallen the country if they had died.
The President said these just as the opposition All Progressives Congress called for an international inquiry into the attack on Buhari by a lone bomber.
Jonathan spoke when Vice-President Namadi Sambo led members of the Muslim community in the Federal Capital Territory to pay the traditional sallah homage to him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President described those responsible for the attacks as sons of the devil.
He said, “Not too long ago, we had these dastardly attacks in Kano and Kaduna. We stand to condemn these acts of terror on our people and we extend our condolence and sympathy to the bereaved and those who were injured.
“Look at the recent attacks in Kaduna, especially where Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi was a target and Gen. Buhari was also a target. You can imagine if these two people had died in those attacks.
“Sheikh Bauchi is one of our top Islamic preachers. He has millions of followers, Buhari, a former Head of State and a leading political figure, has massive supporters.
“On the same day, people wanted to kill them. Those who planned the attacks are clearly sons of the devil because if they had killed these two people, we wouldn’t have been here today.
“This country would have been in turmoil. We couldn’t have gathered here to celebrate. We thank Allah for saving their lives and preventing a major calamity that would have befallen our country.”
Jonathan also pleaded with clerics across the country to shun the gospel of hate and preach messages of peace and unity.
He reminded them that the country could not be developed in an atmosphere devoid of peace.
The President said, “Let me plead with my brothers, especially the clerics, when they are sending their messages out to their followers to preach peace and unity, not the gospel of hate.
“This is because without peace and unity, we cannot develop this country. In a conflict situation people move away from such zones and we cannot develop our communities, our local governments, states and our country in a conflict situation.”
Jonathan also called on all Nigerians to work with the Federal Government to ensure that they collectively brought the excesses of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups to an end.
He reiterated that his administration would do everything humanly possible to end the insurgency.
Jonathan added that government was also looking at ways of raising funds to help those widowed or orphaned by insurgency as well as those whose business premises or places of worship were vandalised.
He said the Victims Support Fund through which money would be raised from the private sector and others would be launched on Thursday.
He said government alone could not do it because a huge sum of money was needed for the task.
Jonathan expressed the hope that a substantial amount of money would be raised during the launching.
The President said the fund raising would be a continuous exercise until the government was able to cushion the effect of the insurgency.
Besides, Jonathan said the government was strengthening its security services so that they would be able to confront the menace.
Sambo had earlier congratulated the President for participating actively in the Ramadan fast despite the fact that he is not a Muslim.
The Vice-President prayed to God to continue to guide the President and give him good health and wisdom to lead the country.
He also prayed that God grants the nation peace and end the evil activities of Boko Haram.
Sambo said, “We pray that Allah will continue to guide you, to give you good health and wisdom to lead this country.
“We pray for peace and pray that all the evils including Boko Haram, the security challenge and other vices, that Allah will grant us the fortitude to remove these evils in this country and to make Nigerians, all of us our brothers’ keepers and to allow peace, tranquility and progress in Nigeria and for the achievement of our transformation agenda.”
Sambo later led the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Muhammed, and the Minister of State, FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide, to present giant greeting cards to the President.
Dignitaries who were part of the delegation were the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhammed Adoke; the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Nureni Muhammed; a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Belgore; and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmadu Ali. Some members of the National Assembly, Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Ustaz Isa Muhammed; and some former ministers were also in the delegation.
The APC, which called for an international inquiry into the attack on Buhari, said such would unravel the perpetrators and motive of the dastardly act.
The party, in a statement in Benin, Edo State by its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, also said the country would have been plunged into turmoil if Buhari had been killed.
The APC said that it did not have the confidence that the Nigerian security agencies would carry out an impartial investigation.
According to the opposition party, security agencies work for the government, instead of the nation.
It also commented on the arrest of an alleged mastermind of the assassination attempt Buhari.
According the APC, the agents of the Federal Government had started muddling the waters with their “sickening” statements and actions on the attack.
It asked, ‘’How does one explain a situation in which a man who is nothing but a pervert is now being paraded as the suspected ‘mastermind’ of the attack on Gen. Buhari?
“At what point was this man, who perhaps is nothing but a transvestite plying his trade, arrested? Is it not clear, from the statement released by Gen. Buhari himself after the attack, that it was clearly the handiwork of a suicide bomber?
“Could the person, who drove the vehicle that was rammed into the general’s convoy, have survived the explosion that was triggered by that action? Could the innocent passers-by who died in the blast not have been arrested and paraded as the ‘suspected masterminds’ if they had survived the blast? Clearly, the arrest of the pervert and his sickening description as a ‘suspected mastermind’ have kick-started the process of muddling the waters, as is usually the case with such high-profile cases.
“This is why an urgent international inquiry into the attack is desirable and imperative, and anyone who is committed to an impartial probe of the attack on the opposition leader should embrace our call.
The party added that the insurgency in the country and its spin-offs were now clearly beyond the capability of the Federal Government.
The party also said its call for an international inquiry had been further justified by the statements and insinuations emanating from the Peoples Democratic Party and the Presidency.