President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said the killings in some parts of Nigeria would soon come to an end as his administration was finding solutions to them.
The President’s assurance followed a fresh attack by Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday night, during which 10 persons were killed, while many others were injured in the Logo and Ukum local government areas of Benue State.
According to a statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in London.
Responding to his guest’s comment on the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of Nigeria, the President, who noted that the problem was not new, added that the situation was compounded by the influx of armed men from the Sahel region into West Africa.
Buhari said the problem should not been seen from the point of view of religion, saying it was sociological and economic.
The President said, “The problem is older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.
“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms.
“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”
He lamented that “irresponsible politics” has been brought into the farmers/herders’ crisis, assuring his guest that enduring solutions would be found, while justice would be done to all concerned.
Buhari said he decided to seek re-election in 2019 because the majority of Nigerians were appreciative of his efforts to reposition the country.
He said he decided to declare his intention on Monday during the National Executive Committee meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress because of the anxiety among Nigerians.
He said, “I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice.
“We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others. We needed to concentrate on them; politics should not be a distraction.
“The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.”
Buhari recounted some successes of his administration with particular emphasis on agriculture.
“We have cut the importation of rice by about 90 per cent, saving billions of dollars in the process. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon,” the President said.
On the war against insurgency, he stressed the need for continuous education of the people, “so that they can be free from religious manipulation.”
On Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl from Dapchi still being held by insurgents because she refused to renounce her Christian faith, the President said his government was handling her case quietly