Buhari: Killer Herdsmen Not Fulanis, They Gaddafi-Trained Terrorists From Libya Who Escaped Into Nigeria
By Austine Ehikioya
Who are the killer-herdsmen? They are gunmen trained by the late Libyan President Muammar Gadaffi, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.
The President spoke at the Abuja House in London when Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visited him.
The gunmen, he said, escaped into Nigeria and other West African countries after Gadaffi’s death.
He spoke, even as suspected herdsmen killed 13 people in Benue and Nasarawa states on Tuesday.
Responding to Welby’s comment on the herdsmen and farmers’ clashes in some parts of the country, Buhari said:
”The problem is even 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.
“They 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.”
The President said “irresponsible politics” had been brought into the farmers/herders’ crisis, promising that enduring solutions would be found, and justice done to all concerned.
He said he declared his second-term bid on Monday before his London trip because many Nigerians were “talking too much” about whether he was going to run or not.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted him as saying: ”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.”
On Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl still being held by insurgents, reportedly because she refused to renounce her faith, the President said:
”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 organisations.
“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.”
Archbishop Welby said it was always a delight to see President Buhari, “whom I have tremendous respect for,” adding:
“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.”