Lawmakers in Nigeria’s parliament have voted to summon President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss an end to the spate of killings in the country’s middle belt.
During a plenary Wednesday, lawmakers also passed a vote of no confidence on service chiefs and security advisers calling for their dismissal.
“We also resolved to summon the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Muhammadu Buhari in order to answer pertinent questions concerning what the Executive is doing to put a decisive end to the spate of killings in different states of the Federation,” said Yakubu Dogara,Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The legislators said they could no longer watch “our people are murdered in cold blood” and demanded that government increases security measures in affected areas.
At least 19 people were killed Tuesday after gunmen opened fire at a church in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, police said.
Two priests and 17 worshippers were killed when armed men, believed to be cattle herders, stormed a Catholic church during early morning Mass on Tuesday in a remote village in Benue state.
The attackers thought to be Fulani herdsmen razed over 50 houses in an attempt to sacked the entire community, state police said.
Violent clashes between the Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and farmers, who are predominantly Christians, in the central state dates to 2013, according to local media reports.
Cattle herders have evicted farmers by initiating deadly attacks in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, media reports say.
At least 72 people were killed in January following weeks of clashes between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the central part of the West African country.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari who visited the state last month to console families and communities that suffered from violent clashes, vowed those involved in Tuesday’s attack will be apprehended and brought to justice.
“This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting,” Buhari said in a tweet.
A local Benue group expressed concerns over the increased spate of killings, calling for an “end to senseless slaughter of unarmed defenseless people” in the country.
“We call on all humane persons and groups around the world to come to the aid of our farming and worship communities and end these terror attacks across Nigeria and especially in Benue, our food basket, which also threatens our collective food security,” the Benue Valley Professional Network said in a statement.
CNN’s Stephanie Busari contributed to this report.