Sir: The story of how the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) responded to a point blank question put to him by the USA President, Donald Trump, is the motivation for this piece. I read that on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, GMB recalled how Trump asked him, “Why are you killing Christians” and he responded that “the crisis between the herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria is not religious but cultural.”
GMB elaborated, “With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root to your water point, they will follow it, it doesn’t matter whose farm it is.” That means the cattle grazers would lead their cattle to devour anybody’s farm on their way and he (GMB) does not see anything wrong with that; obvious conscience deficit with Nigeria rulers, and people like Bọ̣la Ahmed Tinubu, Professor Yẹmi Ọṣinbajo, Adams Oshiomhole, and all those who championed his reelection, notwithstanding the carnage and economic destruction of Nigeria, in the unjustifiable and avoidable war against Boko Haram and protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists.
The day Trump was inaugurated as the President, he started with an early morning church worship, so I accused him of politicizing Christianity against the USA secularist Constitution; secularist in the sense that the Constitution recognises no religion but God as the Creator and Sustainer of universe; a nation under God. The drafters of USA Constitution perceived Christianity for what it is: a diverse and divisive religion with innumerable denominations. And here Nigeria is weighed down by the world’s most divisive and volatile religions: Christianity and Islam always deciding what Nigeria will do or not do.
I read that the Vice President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), John Hayab, has reacted to GMB’s response to Trump, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing” and that GMB’s reply to Trump “further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.”
Moreover, in John’s words: “Just this evening (Tuesday, September 8, 2020), I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference president about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”
CAN itself had no “tale by moonlight” to tell Yar’Adua/Jonathan or GMB on the need for Nigeria’s peace. Where was Trump when the former president Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan used bribery and influence to pocket CAN leadership and the latter was pouring invectives on Boko Haram which started to retaliate by bombing churches? I told Boko Haram to spare innocent people worshipping in churches and church-bombing stopped.
Where was Trump when Boko Haram abducted about 300 Chibok secondary school girls in 2014 and Jonathan ignored my advice that he should dialogue for release of the girls and peace of Nigeria, while the then USA president Barrack Obama and some other world powers supported Jonathan’s obduracy? GMB dialogued twice and got many girls released but he did not target Nigeria’s peace. After selling warplanes to GMB for the carnage and economic destruction of Nigeria, Trump himself is concerned about killing Christians and not other Nigerians.
•Prof. Ọlọ́jẹ̀ẹ́dé Oyeniran Abíọ́jẹ̀ wrote from University of Ilorin.