President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday lamented the “dishonest impression” that he is just enjoying his air-conditioned office and home, without working towards ending the killings by suspected herdsmen.
Speaking when he received Catholic bishops at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, the President stressed that he is doing his best to resolve the clashes between farmers and herdsmen, even though some people think otherwise.
While condemning killings in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, and Zamfara states, he assured that security operatives would ensure prosecution of perpetrators and all those found with illegal arms in the affected areas.
According to Buhari, “the impression created that I was sitting in an air-conditioned office and home, enjoying myself while these things happened, is dishonest.
‘‘At every step, I have tried to foresee these problems because I have the experience as a former military officer who commanded three out of the four divisions of the Nigerian army, in Lagos, Ibadan and Jos.
‘‘I am quite aware of the problems we have and I am doing my best to get law enforcement agencies to be on alert.”
He explained that the cattle colony policy proposed by the federal government in response to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers is not meant to colonise any part of the country.
Buhari stated that the intention of government is to create grazing locations for cattle rearers, which has now been “misconstrued as another form of colonization”.
He regretted that the “well-thought out” policy of his administration had been largely misunderstood by a section of the public.
He, however, assured the Catholic Bishops that the government would continue to explore all opportunities and support initiatives to ensure peace and stability in restive areas.
The President also told the bishops that no ethnic group or political zone has been deliberately marginalised in the appointments made so far by his administration.
While promising to take a second look at appointments made to redress issues being raised, he said the review will be done after a compendium of all appointments has been submitted to him.
Buhari however stated that he would not be tired of recounting remarkable progress recorded in the areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.
According to him, ‘‘We have done very well on security in the north-east, when you compare what the condition was before we came in and what it is now.
‘‘On the economy, particularly agriculture, I am very pleased that God answered the prayers of Nigerians who prayed for bountiful harvest.
‘‘People have taken advantage of federal government policies and programmes to return to the farm and they have not regretted.”
On the fight against corruption, the President reiterated that government would be guided by the law in the investigation and prosecution of all graft-related cases.
According to him, ‘‘People are being prosecuted systematically with evidence.
‘‘If a permanent secretary has five houses in Abuja, two in Kaduna and one in Borno and Sokoto and he can’t account for the properties and there are bank transactions linking him to the properties, the prosecuting agencies will not have difficulties to make progress on the case.”