President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his disappointment with the Nigerian media's reportage of the "misunderstanding" between herdsmen and farmers.
According to a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, on Sunday, the President said this while speaking at an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in China,
He said the President stated that the herdsmen-farmers situation is partly caused by the shrinking of Lake Chad, which forced cattle herders to seek better pasture for their livestock elsewhere.
Shehu's statement read in part: "On herders and farmers clashes in Nigeria, the President told Nigerians in the Diaspora that while security agencies are doing their best to curtail the clashes, the Nigerian media need 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."
It specifically quoted the President as saying: "To my disappointment, the members of the press in Nigeria do not make enough efforts to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us."
The statement continued: "According to the President, due to the effects of climate change, a farm that used to belong to five people now belongs to 50 people, the weather condition; particularly the rainy season is now unpredictable.
"The President partly blamed the farmer’s/herders’ controversy on the shrinking of the Lake Chad, which has forced many cattle nomads to seek greener pastures for their herds in other parts of the country."
Buhari also restated his commitment to ensuring free and fair elections, just as he called on security agencies to respect the wishes of the people during the 2019 elections.
"I have no fear about free and fair elections because that is what brought me to the present position," he was quoted as saying.
"I know what I went through and very few Nigerians could boast of trying four times... Those interested in participating in the elections must get their PVCs and 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 wishes of the people."