President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday revealed that President Donald Trump invited him to his office, and asked him why he was killing Christians in Nigeria.
“I don’t think I can finish this speech without one or two digressions, which is specifically to you ministers, permanent secretaries and our supporters,” Buhari said in Abuja while speaking at the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat of his second term.
“I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries that the president of the United States invited.
“And when I was in his office, only he and myself, he looked at me in the face and said why are you killing Christians?
“If you were the one, I wonder how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray me before him.
“So, I understood it.
“The problem between cattle rearers and stagnant farmers, which is older than me not to talk of him (President Donald Trump), because I know I am a couple of years older than him, were happening.
“It’s climate change with population growth and the misunderstanding of the culture of the cattle rearers.
“If you have 50 cows and they eat grass or something, any rout to their water pond, they will follow it, it doesn’t matter whose farm it was.
“The First Republic set of leaders were the most responsible leaders we’ve ever had.
“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has gotten nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It’s a cultural thing which the respective leaders failing the nation.”
“I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s, which delineated the cattle routes, the grazing areas, why they used meagre resources then to put water dams, windmills, and even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearer who allowed his cattle to somebody’s farm was arrested, taken before a court, the farmer is called to submit his bill then the judge will say if cattle rearer couldn’t pay, his cattle were sold and the farmer is paid.
“But subsequent leaders, the VIPs, they encroached on the cattle routes, they took over the cattle rearing areas.
“There was a time I went to Bayelsa State and I saw cattle rearers there. So, I suspected they were going into the Atlantic.”
Speaking further at the, President Buhari said his All Progressives Congress-led government should be judged fairly based on what it met on ground when it came into office.
“The next problem I want to tell you about is how we found ourselves, when I say us, I mean members of the APC, when we promised three fundamental things: security, economy and fighting corruption.
“We repeated the same fundamental things last year.
“But I want the Nigerian elite, please encourage them to judge us fairly.
“I want you to please reflect, what was the condition of infrastructure then, in spite of those earnings?
“The roads, the rail was dead and there was no power, up till now there’s no power.
“Where did the money go?
“When we came we were faced with one thirds of the production, one thirds of the money we were getting and all these challenges; security, economy and fighting corruption.
‘So, please encourage your friends, the elite, to reflect on what this administration has done, what APC has done and what we have achieved.
“When people outside the country talk of Nigeria, they say it’s the most corrupt country in the world.
“Well, I’m doing my best, God has given me two chances: the first one when I tried I was a young man in uniform, collected the governors, the ministers and the president, put them in Kirikiri and other prisons and said they were guilty until they could prove themselves innocent.
“Put investigations panels based on geopolitical zones, basically. Anybody who followed the constitution, declared his assets, became a minister, a governor or the president, but couldn’t explain what he had.
‘The balance was taken and given back to the federal government or the state or the institution he led.
“In the end, I too was arrested and detained, nobody raised a voice.
“So, when I came back now, I’m trying to follow the system, I’m being called Baba Go Slow.
“Please, you are the ones who should reflect and pity me because we work with you every week, I listen to you, you listen to me, I just have to concentrate.
“Let us do our best for our country and I know we all believe in God and God will look after us.”
He further urged his Ministers to defend his government vigorously and not allow any irresponsible and politically motivated statements to keep spreading falsehoods about his government.
Buhari noted that the days of insufficient collaboration, coordination and synergy among implementing ministries, departments and agencies are over.
“Information to the public should be better packaged, go on the offensive, we are proud of our achievements and we should blow our own trumpets.
The President also directed that all submission to him should go through his Chief of Staff.
“Let me also reiterate that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests should be channeled through the chief of staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters should be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“I have directed the minister of finance, budget and national planning, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and all other responsible agencies to ensure speedy and timely release of funds to MDAs for implementation of the N2.3trillion economic sustainability plan and the capital projects in the 2020 budget.
“I also enjoined ministers to ensure that funds released are utilized efficiently and transparently in implementing the programmes and projects under the line priorities areas of government.
“On behalf of the people of Nigeria, I demand uttermost levels of performance, deliverables and results.
“I look forward to a result orientated year with tremendous benefits that will continue to change lives of our people positively.”
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.