President Muhmmadu Buhari has again blamed the incessant killings by herdsmen on the infiltration of militias who had been dislodged from Libya after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, former Libyan President.
Buhari made the accusation during a brief chat with US President, Donald Trump on Monday.
The usual herdsmen in Nigeria “never carried anything more than a stick, and occasionally a machete to cut down foliage and feed their animals. These ones are carrying AK47”, Buhari said.
“So I don’t think people should underrate what happened in Libya. 43 years of Gaddafi, people are recruited from the Sahel, they were taught nothing other than shoot and kill.
“With the demise of Gaddafi, they moved to their countries and to their regions and they carried away with them the only experience that they had, trained using weapons, and this is what is aggravating the situation.
“We are doing our best to make sure we stop the cross borders and so on, and to get the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the region checked. But it’s going to take time and the action by the United States in trying to see the end of ISIS has helped us a lot.
“Because the Boko Haram in Nigeria, at one time, made a statement that they were loyal to ISIS. And now that ISIS have virtually gone, with the help of the United States, we are very grateful for that. We are stabilising the security situation in Nigeria.”
Asked how his administration was dealing with the issue of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, Buhari assured Trump that many of the Chibok girls, who were kidnapped during the last administration, had been released, as well as the recently abducted Dapchi girls, even though some had died in captivity and one is yet to be released.
“We are very grateful to the United Nations’ organisation that is acting as in-between, between us and the kidnappers. We haven’t given up, we are trying to get everybody back to their families and their schools.”
This is the second time President Buhari is blaming the incessant killings by herdsmen on the influx of arms from Libya. He expressed the same opinion during a char with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, in London a fortnight ago.
“The problem (of herdsmen/farmers clashes) is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region,” Buhari said at the time.
“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.”