Everywhere you go in Nigeria now, you will hear talks around how slow the government is in responding to attacks on farmers by arms-carrying herders.  

These herdsmen attacks and plan to establish cattle colonies across Nigeria were two issues that topped talks when President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). 

The Bishops were led to the Thursday meeting by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama. 

At the meeting, President Buhari explained in detail what his administration had been doing to bring a permanent resolution to the herdsmen-farmer conflicts and violence across Nigeria.

“The recent killings in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, and Zamfara states are all regrettable, and saddening.

“But even more importantly, I am very much aware of all the issues at stake, and doing my best to ensure that justice is done and the security of lives and property guaranteed. 

“The security agencies have standing instructions to arrest and prosecute any and all persons found with illegal arms.

“In addition, quite a number of arrests have been made so far, in relation to the killings, and all these persons will be duly prosecuted,’ the President told the Bishops.

Critics have said Buhari’s indigeneship, as a Fulani man, has come between making quick decisions to tackle the evil of arms-carrying herdsmen believed to be from his tribe.

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But President Buhari feels different about these insinuations.

“It is quite frankly dishonest and unfair to insinuate that I am sitting doing nothing, while these killings are going on.

“Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I have and will continue to act in line with my responsibility as President to ensure security of lives and property. 

“At every step, I have tried to foresee these security problems, counting on my experience as a former military officer who commanded three out of the four divisions of the Nigerian army, in Lagos, Ibadan and Jos. We will surely make progress, and end the bloodshed,” he said. 

The President also asked Nigerians to look at what his administration had accomplished in the northeast, comparing it with the situation in the region before he took over power in 2015.

“We are bringing that same determination and political will to all of Nigeria's other security challenges.” 

On the issue of ranching solution that the government is proposing, President Buhari said: “Questions and false insinuations have also come up regarding the Ranching solution proposed by Federal the Government. Let me state very clearly that the policy— conceived after wide consultations with stakeholders—is not meant to colonize any part of the country.

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“We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders—State Governments, local communities, farmers, pastoralists, civil society and others—and to support initiatives to ensure peace and stability in restive areas”.

Here is a video from the meeting posted on President Buhari's Twitter page.