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Trump asked me about ‘killing of Christians’- Buhari

NEWSMAN, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that there was an impression by the International Community that the Nigerian government was using Farmers/ Herders crisis in the country as a guise to persecute Christians.

Speaking extempore after delivering his speech at the second day of the one year retreat for ministers and top government officials, the President spoke on the cattle rearer/farmers conflicts and how United States President Donald Trump asked him why he was persecuting Christians among others.

“I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries that the president of the United States invited, And when I was in his office, only he and myself, he looked at me in the face and said why are you killing Christians, if you were the one, I wonder how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray me before him, so I understood it.

“The problem between cattle rearers and stagnant farmers, which is older than me not to talk of him (President Donald Trump), because I know I am a couple of years older than him, were happening. It’s climate change with population growth and the misunderstanding of the culture of the cattle rearers.

“If you have 50 cows and they eat grass or something, any route to their water pond they will follow it, it doesn’t matter whose farm it was. The First Republic set of leaders were the most responsible leaders we’ve ever had. They had a gazette in the early 60s, which delineated the cattle routes and the grazing areas. They used meagre resources then to put water dams, windmills”.

“So any cattle rearer who allowed his cattle to somebody’s farm was arrested, taken before a court, the farmer is called to submit his bill then the judge will say if a cattle rearer couldn’t pay, his cattle were sold and the farmer is paid. But subsequent leaders, the VIPs, encroached on the cattle routes, they took over the cattle rearing areas. There was a time I went to Bayelsa State and I saw cattle rearers there, so I suspected they were going into the Atlantic.

“So I tried and explained to him that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It’s a cultural thing”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in its reaction, described Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with Trump as weak.

CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, in an interview with one of our correspondents, 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.”

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