President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association on Nigeria (MACBAN) and raised the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in their discussion. 

He has always said that gun-wielding herders were not Nigerians, but people who left conflict regions of Libya and migrated to Nigeria. 

But while addressing the members of MACBAN, President Buhari appealed for accommodation and tolerance among cattle herders and farmers throughout Nigeria.

The meeting was held at the State House in Abuja.

He appealed for calm among all citizens, saying that his government will give equal respect to all citizens irrespective of their ethnic, religious and geopolitical backgrounds.

President Buhari said: “I appeal to all farmers and herders for restraint, mutual respect and tolerance for one another as people destined to live together in this great country.

"I appeal for patience and understanding as the administration works towards lasting solutions to these conflicts".

He also urged the herders to support him in the task of bringing lasting peace to Nigeria.

A statement by a spokesman for President Buhari, Garba Shehu, said "the President called on state governors to work with the Minister of Agriculture, who he said, had been mandated to work out a solution with the states by which herders would have access to water for their livestock, and farmers will have security against destruction of their farmlands.

"President Buhari attributed part of the conflict between the two groups to the climate change phenomenon and population explosion, but regretted that its politicisation by selfish individuals who did not mean well for the country did not also help matters.

"He emphasised that this conflict was neither religious nor ethnic, but one that his administration has foreseen and warned about".

Buhari also said his administration did its best to resolve the issues in Benue and Taraba.

“Before the Benue and Taraba crises, I called the Minister of Agriculture and the Governor of Central Bank and asked them to work with the state governors on rediscovering the gazetted cattle routes, clear of farmlands that had made for peace during the First Republic.”

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President Buhari expressed strong confidence that a way around the problem would be found, working with the states which have an important role to play in finding a lasting solution.

“Whatever it will take, I am determined to bring peace between farmers and herders. I urge you all to be patient and exercise restraint while we are working for an enduring solution,” he stressed.

MACBAN, led by Alhaji Mohammed Kiruwa, informed the President that the 20-million strong body had sent the delegation to endorse his bid for a second term of office on account of the administration’s achievements in office.

The claimed that Buhari administration had successfully clamped down on kidnapping and cattle rustling; and was winning the fight against terrorism and corrupt elements in the society.

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