Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari this week accused opposition politicians of “blackmailing” him by claiming that he is allowing terrorists from the Fulani herdsmen group, with whom the African leader shares his ethnicity, to continue butchering thousands of Christian-majority farmers in the name of cattle grazing.
“Buhari was apparently referring to the campaign stunts of the [opposition] Peoples Democratic Party, branding the APC’s [All Progressives Congress] federal government as irresponsive to the herdsmen/farmers clashes,” Nigeria’s Premium Times explains.
Buhari has dismissed allegations by the opposition and critics that he is not taking action against the Fulani terrorists because he shares an ethnic background with them as untrue and a “cheap blackmail,” the Premium Times adds.
While campaigning Tuesday on behalf of his party’s nominee for the governorship of Ekiti State, located in predominantly Christian southern Nigeria, Buhari told a crowd of APC supporters, “They [are] blackmailing me, saying I have not done anything about the farmers/Fulani herdsmen clashes because I am a Fulani man. But this is a cheap blackmail. We are doing everything to curtail the situation and provide a lasting solution to the problem.”
Critics have accused Buhari of failing to get tough on members of his Fulani ethnicity and even condoning the carnage carried out by the terrorists as they rampage in predominantly Christian southern Nigeria, killing, raping, and conquering territory in the name of cattle grazing.
Buhari has blamed climate change and politicians for the Fulani terrorist acts, claiming the opposition is sponsoring the carnage and using criminals to perpetuate the violence that has left thousands dead and injured this year alone.
In a separate article, Nigeria’s Premium Times points out, “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.”
Many Nigerian Christian leaders have accused the Fulani, considered “jihadis” by some analysts, of committing genocide against followers of Christ in Nigeria.
Originating from Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, the Fulani have been butchering anyone who gets in their way as they move south in search of grazing land for their cattle.
The Fulani have killed up to 6,000 mainly Christian farmers this year alone, mostly women and children, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and denominational church heads reported last week.
Ekiti—where Buhari campaigned on Tuesday—sits close to the states most affected by the Fulani perpetrated violence, namely Plateau, Benue, and Taraba.
On Monday night, the terrorist so-called herdsmen struck again, killing more than 50 people in several areas bordering Adamawa and Taraba states, Orsu 24 News reports.