The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has told President Muhammadu Buhari that killings in Nigeria is not cultural.
Recalls Buhari had on April 30, 2018, honoured an invitation from the American President where the two leaders discussed issues about their countries including economic cooperation and fighting terrorism.
Some details of what they discussed has now been made public by Buhari on Tuesday. The Nigerian President was speaking during his closing remark at the end of the two-day ministerial performance review retreat at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He noted that he told President Trump that the problem between cattle rearers and farmers in Nigeria was a cultural thing rather than ethnicity or religion, adding that the issue has continued to fester due to the leadership failure of past governments in the country.
Buhari who digressed from his prepared speech noted that “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?’
“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 route to your water point, they will follow it, it doesn’t matter whose farm it was.
“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.
“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.”
Reacting in an interview with The Punch, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, described Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with Trump as weak.
He said, “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.
“President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.
“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”