President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday revealed his response to President Donald Trump over the American leader’s allegation that he is killing Christians.
On April 30, 2018, Buhari met with Trump in Washington to discuss issues ranging from the fight against insurgency, the economy, among others.
In his closing remarks at the end of the two-day ministerial performance review retreat at the presidential villa, Abuja, Buhari said he told his American counterpart that the problem between herders and farmers is not religious but cultural.
“I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries, the president of United States invited, and when I was in his office only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, he said ‘why are you killing Christians?’” Buhari said.
“I wonder if you were the person how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion.
“So, I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and stagnant farmers I know is older than me not to talk of him (Trump). I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root to your water point, they will follow it, it doesn’t matter whose farm it is.”
He applauded the first republic leadership, accusing subsequent administrations of not handling herder-farmer crisis properly.
“The first republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle routes where they used meagre resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department,” he said.
“So, any cattle rearer that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm is arrested, taken before the court, the farmer is called to submit his bill and if he can’t pay, the cattle are sold, but subsequent leaders, VVIPs (very very important persons) they encroached on the cattle routes, they took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him, this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing which the respective leadership was failing the nation.”