President Muhammadu Buhari has exonerated Fulani herdsmen from incessant killings in the North Central, saying Nigerian herdsmen only bear sticks not guns.
Mr Buhari, who is currently in United States of America to meet President Donald Trump, on Tuesday spoke on the Voice of America, VOA, Hausa Service morning programme.
The president faulted claims that killings in the country are targeted at Christians.
“The reports America gets are that Christians are being killed in Nigeria.
“What happened (the killings) in the Church (in North Central), also happened in the South East. But they will just frame herdsmen as the culprits.
“Those who frame herdsmen should know that Nigerian herdsmen they don’t carry anything more than stick.
“Bearing guns is new to them. And those who made these claims know that such crises (farmer/herder clashes) happened long before we were born.
“So the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria or in the North is not new. And the crisis will outlive our tenure.
“It is wrong to tag the issue as crisis between Fulani and Tiv or between Fulani and other tribes in say Taraba. What about Zamfara? The number of people killed in Zamfara is more than the combined number of those killed in Taraba and Benue.
“People should understand that it is just hate speech in the garb of religion and ethnicity,” he told his VOA interviewer, Aliyu Mustapha.
Mr Buhari also kicked against the idea of state police, arguing that the state governors could not sustain their (state police) salaries.
The president lamented that he had released tranches of bailout to the state governors, but many states still could not pay salaries to their workers.
“On the issue of state police, there is a need to look at our constitution to see if it is appropriate. The reason I don’t support the creation of state police is that the state governors can not pay them salaries.
“I released tranches of bailout to the state governments but still many of them can not pay their workers.
“So, if you employ a security personnel. You teach him how to shoot and give him a gun; then you don’t pay him his salaries, what do you think he would do?” he asked.
The president however disclosed that he ordered for recruitment of 6000 Police personnel in order to check insecurity and incessant killings in Zamfara, Taraba and Benue States.
He also revealed that he ordered that the personnel should be selected from each of the 774 local government areas of the country.
He maintained that the decision for the mass recruitment in Police was to strengthen the force and check the incessant killings in Zamfara State.
“That is why I ordered for the recruitment of 6000 police personnel to check the incessant killings. I want the recruitment to be based on each local government, not just to pick people at motor parks and give them employment in the force,” he added.