Buhari Accuses Media Of Uninformed Reportage Of Farmers, Herders’ Crises

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said he was not afraid of free and fair elections in 2019.

Also, the President faulted the Nigerian media reportage of the farmers, herders clashes in the country, saying the coverage had been largely uninformed.

He said as a beneficiary of credible elections, he would ensure that his administration organised free and fair elections.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this in Beijing during an interactive session he had with members of the Nigerian community in China.

Buhari is in the Asian country to participate in the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation scheduled to hold from September 3 to 4 in Beijing.

The President promised that he would ensure that the 2019 polls, under his watch, would be free, fair and credible.

He pledged that the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agents would allow Nigerians eligible to vote in the next general elections to freely elect candidates of their choice.

Buhari said, “I have no fear about free and fair elections because that is what brought me to the present position. I know what I went through and very few Nigerians could boast of trying four times (contesting the Presidency).

“Those interested in participating in the elections must get their PVCs, register in their constituencies and elect anybody of their choice across ethnicity and religion.

“The Nigerian police, law enforcement agencies and INEC must respect the right of the people to express their wishes.”

Citing recent elections in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi states, the President said the country had made progress when compared to elections conducted in the past years.

On security issues, the President reaffirmed that his government had succeeded in curtailing Boko Haram insurgents in the country.

He added that the terrorist group was no longer in control of any part of the country.

Buhari attributed the success to operations of security agencies deployed to counter insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country.

“You will all recall that we contested the last election basically on three issues, which include security, especially in the North-East.

“The Boko Haram used to occupy quite a number of local governments in Borno State but they are not in anyone now.

“They have resorted to a very dangerous way of terrorism by indoctrinating young people, mostly girls and attacking soft targets, churches, mosques and marketplaces,” he added.

On herders and farmers’ clashes in Nigeria, the President told the Nigerians in the Diaspora that while security agencies were doing their best to curtail the clashes, the Nigerian media needed to complement the efforts through objective and informed reportage.

The President appealed to the Nigerian media to make an attempt at understanding the cultural and historical implications of some of the misunderstanding between herders and farmers.

“To my disappointment, the members of the press in Nigeria do not make enough efforts, in my observation, to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us,” he said.

According to the President, due to the effects of climate change, a farm that used to belong to five people now belong to 50 people, adding that the weather condition, particularly the rainy season, is now unpredictable.

The President partly blamed the farmers-herders’ controversy on the shrinking of the Lake Chad, which he said, had forced many nomadic herders to seek greener pastures for their herds in other parts of the country.