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Buhari: Violent herdsmen trained by Ghadaffi

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that armed Fulani herdsmen perpetrating violence across the country are part of the gunmen trained by late Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi.

The suspected herdsmen, according to reports since 2010, have killed several people including farmers, women and children in Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa, Plateau, Rivers and Kogi States with properties worth millions of naira destroyed.

President Buhari’s disclosure is a confirmation of an intelligence report, including those of the Department of State Security Services (DSS), that Islamic State in West Africa network ISWA, operating within some North Central and South-South sections of Nigeria may be responsible for the recent killings recorded in Benue State and other parts of the country.

The intelligence report, which presidency officials said has been submitted to President Buhari by security agencies, had claimed that ISWA was using foreign terrorists and recruiting young men to fight and kill innocent persons “ostensibly to exacerbate tensions along the county’s ethnic, religious and regional fault lines.”

President Buhari, while receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby, yesterday in London, said the problem of herdsmen/farmers’ clashes was older than his administration.

He explained that “the problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed 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. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. 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,” Buhari stressed.

President Buhari lamented that “irresponsible politics” has been brought into the farmers/herders’ crisis, but assured his visitor that enduring solutions would be found and justice done to all concerned.

Commenting on the issue of one of the girls still in captivity of the Boko Haram, Leah Sharibu, President Buhari said the Federal Government was managing the matter quietly.

Leah was among the over 100 girls from Government Science Secondary School, Dapchi on February 19, but released a month later.

The girl is said to have been held back by insurgents, for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

According to the President: “We are managing the matter quietly. Making noise would not help. We are collecting as much intelligence as possible, working with the Red Cross and other international organizations. There are too many fraudulent people around, who claim they can do this and that. We won’t deal with them. That was how we got the Dapchi girls back, and the Chibok girls.”

On why he recently declared to seek re-election in 2019, President Buhari said he did so to silence several Nigerians, who were talking too much.

He said: “I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much 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, and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.”

The President recounted some successes of the administration to his guest, with whom he has built a deep friendship in recent times, and was quite particular about strides in agriculture.

“We have cut the importation of rice by about 90 per cent, saving billions of dollars in the process. People, who rushed into petrol money, have now gone back to agriculture. Even professionals have gone back to the land. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon. I am so pleased,” the President said.

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina on the visit, Archbishop Welby said it was always a delight to see President Buhari, “whom I have tremendous respect for.”

The President’s guest said: “You have my best wishes on your recent decision. I read your declaration speech. We are neutral as a church, but we will pray for you. Great statesmen are those who run for the good of their country. We will be praying for you.”

The Archbishop presented President Buhari with a copy of his recent book, ‘Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope.”

Source: New Telegraph

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