Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity has lambasted critics who he accused of 'bending the words of President Muhammadu Buhari on killings by herdsmen across the country to suit their political ends.
Mr. Adesina, in a statement released on his Facebook page on Friday, said the deliberate twisting of the words of the President was intended to demean him in the eyes of the public and ensure his defeat in the coming presidential race.
The presidential said, “Since President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in London on Wednesday and spoke on the likely impact of gunmen trained by former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, on the killings by herdsmen in Nigeria, some people have virtually flown off the handle, ululating as if wailing was going out of fashion.
“They twisted the meaning of Mr. President’s words (yes, some people twist everything, even the words of God; 2 Peter:3, 15,16). They claimed he was blaming Gaddafi, long dead, for the killings in Nigeria. But let’s see the vacuousness and intellectual laziness in the twist they have given what President Buhari said, out of sheer malice and evil hearts. Sadly, even a Senator was involved in the sickening display of poisonous heart. That’s what you get when small minds get into high places.”
The presidential adviser said the claim by the president is a global knowledge that the president’s critics refused to acknowledge.
He said, “Here’s what Mr President told Archbishop Justin Welby: The problem is even older than us. 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 Gadaffi 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. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.
“The problem is even older than us,” said President Buhari. If anybody is not challenged with a simple understanding of English language, does this mean pre-Gaddafi? The former Libyan leader was born in 1942, and killed in October 2011, making him 69 years old at the time of his death. So, did he cause clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which the President said was older than most living Nigerians? Only rabidly mischievous minds can conceive such. It has always been there, but now made worse…’If you say something has been exacerbated by a factor, does it mean such factor is the cause? Simply illogical.”
According to him, the logic in what the president said was that the herdsmen common to the Nigerian society were those who armed themselves with sticks and cutlasses and that the influx of the herdsmen who carry sophisticated weapons after the Libyan leader’s death calls for intensive interrogation from all sides.
He said, “The President then talked about the herdsmen we used to know, who carried just sticks, and at worst a cutlass, saying those armed with sophisticated weapons were unknown to this clime. Is that not true? If herdsmen have suddenly turned murderous in a country, it calls for all sorts of interrogation, including intellectual, as to what may have gone wrong. The causes could be multifarious. And solutions must be jointly proffered. A President has sensitive security reports available to him. President Buhari gave another vista from which the herdsmen/farmers clashes could be considered, but rather than be reflective and do critical interrogation, the wailers engaged in their pastime: they began to wail, including senators and people who should naturally be level-headed and examine issues dispassionately. Very sorry.
He noted that the President then promised that government is working hard to stop the trend.
He said, “But we are working on solutions, President Buhari told the cleric. They ignored that. It holds no meaning for them. They are interested in problems, not solutions. Problems serve their pernicious interests more. Pity! That is what hatred does to the heart. It stunts the mind and poisons the soul. Such heart plays petty partisan and divisive politics with every matter. It is what President Buhari at that meeting called ‘irresponsible politics’. And as we head for general elections next year, much more of it would be seen, except such people reform, and put on their thinking caps. The tendency now is to twist and slant every word from President Buhari in the negative, all in a bid to demean, de-market, and demonize him, and make him unattractive to the electorate. But those who do it are to be pitied.”