President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said the impression that he was folding his arms over the recent spate of killings in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba and Zamfara States was dishonest.
The president stated this at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja while receiving Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) led by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama.
Buhari, according to a statement by his spokesman Mr Femi Adesina, condemned the killings, saying security operatives would ensure prosecution of perpetrators and all those found with illegal arms in the affected areas.
‘‘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,’’ the president said.
He explained that the policy proposed by Federal Government in response to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country was not meant to colonize any part of the country.
President Buhari clarified that the intention of government was to create grazing locations for cattle rearers which, he said, had been misconstrued as another form of colonization.
He regretted that the well-thought out policy of the Federal Government, which was conceived after wide consultations with stakeholders, had been largely misunderstood by a section of the public.
He, however, assured the Catholic Bishops that the Federal Government woulf continue to explore all opportunities and support initiatives to ensure peace and stability in restive areas.
Buhari also stated that he would not be tired of recounting remarkable progress recorded in the areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.
‘‘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,’’ he said.