Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on Sunday argued that “climate change” is the driving force behind the massacre of thousands of predominantly Christian farmers at the hands of terrorists from the African leader’s Fulani ethnic group.
Deadly clashes between nomadic Muslim Fulani herders, with whom Buhari shares his ethnicity, and the settled Christian-majority farmers mainly from the Berom ethnic group have intensified drastically this year, resulting in fatalities among followers of Christ numbering in the thousands so far in 2018 alone.
Some Nigerian Christian leaders have accused the Fulani, described as “jihadis” by some analysts, of committing genocide against followers of Christ.
Originating from the predominantly Muslim northern part of Nigeria, the Fulani have been butchering anyone who gets in their way as they move south in search of grazing land for their cattle.
In a statement issued Sunday, the office of the Nigerian presidency declared:
The Nigerian government is working closely with state governments and the security services—as well as international partners—in order to resolve this ongoing issue. The clashes between herders and farmers are historical. The causes of these confrontations are varied and complex.
Climate change, specifically the drying up of the Chad Basin, has led to more pressure on the population in the North of Nigeria, which further compounded the problem.
As President Buhari indicated lately, there is evidence of [the] involvement of some politicians using criminals to perpetuate the killings. Climate change is an issue of global significance and the Nigerian government is determined to continue working closely with its neighbors in order to ensure that a long-term solution can be implemented. The federal government makes no distinction amongst the population and works tirelessly to protect all Nigerian people.
Dede Laugesen, an expert at the Save the Persecuted Christians, a U.S.-based coalition working to raise grassroots awareness about the mistreatment of Christ followers, dismissed Buhari’s allegation that “climate change” is to blame for the massacre as a ploy to “create sympathy” for the Fulani terrorists.
She told Breitbart News:
The slaughter of thousands of indigenous citizens of Nigeria cannot be blamed on climate change. Liberal media have downgraded Fulani jihadists to simple ‘herdsmen’ to cleanse the narrative. Claims by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that the recent attacks on mostly Christian Nigerians in the Middle Belt can be attributed to climate change is a political tactic to appeal to Western media and create sympathy for known terrorists. Nigeria’s Christian leaders have called these attacks coordinated, supported by the Buhari Islamist government, and acts of ‘pure genocide.’
Nigeria’s Premium Times notes:
The president has pushed back against the allegations, and defended herdsmen as largely peaceful individuals who go about their businesses with sticks without access to heavy weaponry. He said those behind the killings are not necessarily herdsmen but criminals whom he had ordered security agencies to ruthlessly confront.
Mr. Buhari’s excuse that politicians are sponsoring a large chunk of the carnage has been debunked by his critics who mocked him as inadvertently admitting his own incompetence as president by complaining in the media when he should be deploying state resources to expose and clamp down on such politicians if indeed there is any truth to his claim.
While disputes between the Fulani and settled farming communities are primarily rooted in arguments over territory and resources, some of the attacks carry religious overtones.
The ongoing crisis has pitted Muslim pastoralists against Christian farmers accused of instigating the deadly tensions by stealing cattle and not allowing the terrorists to use their land for grazing.
The Buhari administration has urged the Christian-majority farmers to surrender some of their homeland to accommodate the Fulani terrorists, stressing that relinquishing territory is better than dying.
Fulani terrorists have become deadlier than the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)-linked Boko Haram jihadist group, Breitbart News recently reported.
Estimates for the number of Christian-majority Nigerian farmers massacred this year alone by the Fulani militants described as “jihadis” by some analysts are as high as 6,000, mostly women and children, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and denominational church heads revealed last week.