President Muhammadu Buhari has again blamed late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi for the killings across Nigeria as he was received at the White House by US President, Donald Trump on Monday.In a meeting in the Oval Office, in which both leaders took no questions, the American president categorically told his guest, among other things, that the US would no longer accept the killing of Christians in Nigeria.
“We’ve had serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed,” Trump said, refering to the attack on April 24 on a church in Benue State, Nigeria, where 18 people, including two priests, were killed.
“We’re going to work on that problem and working on that problem very, very hard,” Trump said.
However Mr. Buhari again claimed that the killings were been perpetrated by mercenaries, who had fought in Libya under Gaddafi.
“Forty-three years of Gaddafi, people were recruited from the Sahel; they were taught nothing else than to shoot and kill. With the demise of Gaddafi, they moved to their countries and regions and carried along with them the trainings they had. That is what aggravated the situation..”
Mr. Buhari said his administration was doing its best to check the situation and thanked the US government for helping in the fight against Boko Haram.
Recall that earlier in April in London, President Buhari had told the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby that the arms Mr. Gaddafi provided to his supporters had filtered into Nigeria where they are now being used to fuel killings across the north-central.
He had said, “The problem is even older than us,” Mr. Buhari said of killings.
“It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.
“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.
“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons.”
He dismissed claims that the attacks have tribal or religious undertone because they largely occurred at Christian-dominated and minority tribes areas, saying those propagating the assertion are doing so for political gains.
See video of the Trump-Buhari meeting at the Oval Office:
Mr. Buhari is the first leader from sub-Saharan African to be invited to Washington by President Trump.