United States President Donald Trump, yesterday, condemned the killings of Christians in Nigeria and charged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the safety of not only Christians in the country, but Moslems as well. Trump gave the charge while speaking during a joint press conference at Rose Garden after both leaders met in the Oval Office, where much of the conversation focused on combating terrorism across the globe.
Suspected Fulani herdsmen, since 2014, have killed several farmers in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Kogi and Nasarawa states. Receiving Buhari at the White House yesterday, President Trump said the United States will not fold its arms and watch how Christians are being killed in Nigeria.
Trump said: “We’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem and working on that problem very, very hard, because we can’t allow that to happen. “We have met before, developing great relationship, we look forward to our discussions today, they are very important, but again, especially as it relates to terrorism.
That is terrorism here and terrorism all over the world. It’s a hot bed and we are going to be stopping them.” During a joint press briefing between the two presidents, Trump reiterated that the ongoing killings in Nigeria must stop. “We are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It’s a horrible story. We encourage Nigeria and the federal, state and local leaders too to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths, including Moslems and Christians,” the U.S. President said.
Trump, who also engaged President Buhari on the remaining Chibok girls kidnapped in April 2014 at the Government Girls’ Secondary School Chibok in Borno State by the Boko Haram insurgents, described terrorism as a terrible problem.
His words: “I will specially appreciate President Buhari in the fight against terrorism. Nigeria was one of the first African nations to join the Coalition to defeat ISIS and Nigerian forces are currently leading regional forces against ISIS in West Africa and is doing very well as we have. Nigeria is also leading African nations in the fight against Boko Haram, another ruthless jihadist terrorist group. You’ve been reading about them. They kidnap young girls and young women, many of who are never seen again.
“It is my honour to meet with brave young women, Joy Bishara and Lidya Apogu, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014 at a secondary school in Nigeria. I am moved by their inspiring stories of courage, resilience and survival. I told Joy and Lidya, my administration is committed to combat jihadist terrorism and the scourge of human trafficking and smuggling. “It’s amazing that in the world today, there is more human trafficking than there has ever been. You can’t believe this; they use the Internet better than anybody else can use the Internet in this modern world.
There is more human trafficking and slavery than at any time in the history of this world. It’s hard to believe. “To protect Americans from this sad situation, I called on Congress to plug the loopholes that they are being exploited by terrorists, traffickers and criminals. Just look at our obsolete and weak immigration laws.
They are obsolete and they are weak. They are pathetic and there is no country in the world that has immigration laws like we do. They got to change and they got to change now for the safety of our country.
“We are also helping our Nigerian partners by facilitating intelligence cooperation; by providing trading and military equipment to Nigeria Armed Forces. For example, we recently sold to Nigeria 12 UA29 Super Tucano aircraft in the first ever sale of American military equipment to Nigeria.
These aircraft will improve Nigeria’s ability to target terrorists and protect civilians.” He told the Nigerian leader that the United States has decimated the ISIS. “We have very much decimated ISIS, much has taken place over the last 12 months, but Boko Haram has been terrible and how did you do with the young women that were kidnapped? How was that going?” the U.S. President asked.
In his response, Buhari said: “The Chibok girls’ incident was before we came in 2014. We have only a number of them; we recovered about 80 of them. But the Dapchi ones, they were 106 that were kidnapped, we got 100 back, four died, one is still held in captivity and we are very grateful for the United Nations organisation that is acting as in-between us and the kidnappers. We haven’t given up; we are trying to get everybody back to join their families and their schools.”
The President explained that the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in the country predates his administration. Buhari told Trump that: “The problem of the cattle farmers and herders in Nigeria is a very long historical thing.
The Nigeria herder never carried anything more than a stick and occasionally a machete to cut down foliage and give it to their animals. “These ones are carrying AK 47, so I don’t think people should underrate what happened in Libya. 43 years of Gadaffi, people were recruited from the Sahel, they were taught nothing other than shoot and kill. With the demise of Gadaffi, they moved to their countries and their regions and they carried away with them, the only experience they have and training using weapons. And that is what is aggravating the situation.”
Buhari said that his government was doing everything possible to tackle issue of insecurity, including the herdsmen-farmers’ crisis. “Certainly, security is the main issue, we are very grateful to the United States for agreeing to give us the aircraft we asked for and the spare parts. We are even more grateful for the physical presence of the United States military instructors that go into our institutions and train them, and go to the front in the North-East to see how they are performing as a result of the training given to them.
“The commitment of the United States to get rid of terrorism across the world, we have had firsthand experience of that and we are very grateful for it. “We are doing our best to ensure that we stop cross border and so on and to get the proliferation and small arms weapons in the regions checked. But it is going to take time, and the action by the United States in trying to see the end of ISIS has helped us a lot because Boko Haram in Nigeria, at one time, made a statement that they were loyal to ISIS. “And now that ISIS has virtually gone with the help of the United States, we are very grateful for that and we are sure that we are stabilizing the situation of security in Nigeria.” he added.NAN