What I told Trump about alleged massacre of Christians in Nigeria – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed his response to President Donald Trump over the American leader’s allegation that the Nigerian government was slaughtering Christians, telling him that the problem between cattle rearers and farmers was a cultural thing rather than ethnicity or religion.

Buhari had met with Trump in Washington on April 30, 2018 to discuss among others, the issues around fighting terrorism and economic growth.

Both leaders met alone when he honoured the US president’s invitation to the White House only for Trump to accuse him of the atrocity.

President Buhari who made his closing remark at the end of the two-day ministerial performance review retreat at the presidential villa, Abuja, said he explained the problem which is older than him was caused by successive leaderships, which he said had failed the country.

The president, while applauding the first republic leadership of being the best the country has ever had, accused subsequent administrations of encroaching on cattle routes.

Digressing from his prepared text, President narrated: “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 root 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 in which the respective leadership was failing the nation.”

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