President Muhammmadu Buhari says those accusing him of condoning the killings by suspected herdsmen have evil minds.
Buhari said this at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja Thursday while receiving members of the Christian Association of Nigeria from the 19 northern states.
The president also stated that there is no administration that has not had to contend with killings over the years.
“When some, for clearly political purposes, attempt to suggest that this government is doing nothing about the killings, and that I, being Fulani, must be encouraging these satanic acts, it seems to me that there is no limit to the evil in the minds of men.
“Otherwise, how can anyone in their right minds suggest that I, as an elected President even with substantial votes in the affected areas, will for any reason do harm by an act of omission to those same people?
“Secondly, the problems in all these areas, as you all know, are historical. There is no administration that has not had to contend with killings in these same areas over the years.
“Indeed, in 2001, you may recall that after thousands were killed in Plateau State, a State of Emergency was declared and a governor was replaced by an administrator,” he said.
President Buhari also stated that to suggest that his administration was doing nothing “is terribly unfair.”
He said the recent killings in Benue, Zamfara and lately Plateau were wicked, condemnable and completely unacceptable acts.
“We, Nigerians, are religious people and no religion or culture accepts the killing of people for any reason whatsoever.
“This is why we must all rise as one to condemn these vile and wicked acts to ensure that all the culprits are brought to justice.”
The president asked the clerics and religious leaders to fully support and join hands with his administration.
The chairman of the northern branch of CAN, Rev. Yakubu Pam, listed thier demands as including that Nigerian security architecture be revisited to give it a new lease of life and responsiveness to earn the required trust, confidence, and support of the general populace.
He also asked the federal government to encourage herders to acquire land for cattle ranching across the country as a means of private business investment.
He said all communities ravaged by the herdsmen violence in the north should be rebuilt and adequate security be put in place to enable displaced persons to return to their homes and means of livelihood
The cleric also urged the Federal Government to roll out a robust advocacy programme to enlighten the nomadic herders on modern cattle rearing against open grazing and roaming across states and national boundaries.