President Muhammadu Buhari says it is unfair for people to accuse him of not reprimanding suspected gun-wielding herdsmen because he looks like them.
Buhari said this on Tuesday during an interactive session with stakeholders in Plateau State.
The president has been accused of keeping mum on the killings by suspected herders across the country.
After the attack on Plateau, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) said no one should expect peace because they lost 300 cows, indirectly taking responsibility for the killings.
However, in his reaction to the mass killing, Buhari blamed the continued attacks on desperate politicians whom he says were taking advantage of the situation ahead of the 2019 elections.
In a statement by Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Buhari said he has directed security chiefs in the country to remain vigilant and ensure the protection of lives and property in the country.
He also urged traditional and community leaders to complement government efforts by persuading their constituencies to tolerate one another for peace and unity in the country.
‘‘I will continue to pressurise members of the law enforcement agencies directly under me by the Constitution as the Commander-in Chief. About eight days ago, we had five hours security meeting of the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police,” Buhari said.
‘‘What happened here in Jos is very bad. The question of leadership, from your household to whatever you are, is justice. The bottom line is justice.
‘‘That is why wherever I go, I will always appeal to the leadership of the communities, the law enforcement agencies to always have control of their constituencies.
‘‘Whatever is being given to the media, we have to be very responsible about it.
‘‘Take for instance the situation in Benue. The Benue subsistence farmer knows that the Nigerian cattle herder that he knows doesn’t carry nothing more than a stick, occasionally sometimes something to cut grass to feed his cattle.
‘‘But the present herder, I am told, carries AK47 and people are even blaming me for not talking to them because maybe (they say) I look like one of them.
‘‘There is some injustice in these aspersions.”
Buhari, however, said despite the security challenges in the country, Nigerians recognise the “success” recorded by his administration in combating insecurity.
“It is noteworthy that many Nigerians still acknowledge that despite the security challenges, this administration has made notable successes in the security sector,” he said.