The Presidency on Tuesday said it was unfair and unkind for anybody or group to keep insinuating that President Muhammadu Buhari is condoning killings in Benue State and other parts of the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
Shehu said the President was conscious of his duty to Nigerians, not least because he is held accountable for everything that goes wrong.
He said Buhari was also worried about public pronouncements and finger-pointing which he described as unhelpful to peaceful coexistence in the country.
The presidential spokesman said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has been concerned about these conflicts each time he received those very gruesome pictures of mayhem from several parts of the country, especially as it affected Benue and neighbouring states.
“He is equally worried about some public pronouncements and finger-pointing that are, in most cases very unhelpful to peaceful coexistence of our diverse peoples.
“The President is conscious of his duty to Nigerians, not least because he is held accountable for everything that goes wrong. He deeply sympathises with the families and all the other direct and indirect victims of this violence. He is determined to bring it to a permanent end.
“While there are many Nigerians who see the conflict between the nomadic herdsmen and peasant farmers as an ethnic problem, others point to religious differences and agenda. The President does not subscribe to such simplistic reductionism.
“President Buhari holds the view, as do many experts, that these conflicts are more often than not, as a result of major demographic changes in Nigeria. When Nigeria attained independence, the population of the country was estimated at about 63,000,000.
“Today the population is estimated at close to 200,000,000; while the land size has not changed and will not change. Urban sprawl and development have simply reduced land area both for peasant farming and cattle grazing.
“It is therefore both unfair and unkind, for anyone to keep insinuating that the President is condoning the spate of killings in Benue and other neighbouring states.
“President Buhari has publicly condemned the violence at every turn. He is prepared to permit every possible step that can lead to the stoppage of the killings.”