President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday revealed what he told President Donald Trump of the United States who accused him of killing Christians during his visit to the US in 2018.
Buhari also said he has done more for the country with less resources than successive governments.
The President, who spoke yesterday at the closing of the first-year ministerial performance review retreat in Abuja, said: “I believe I was about the only African, among the less developed countries, the President of the United States invited, and when I was in his office alone with him, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face and asked ‘why are you killing Christians?’
“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react? I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion.
“So, I told him that the problem between the cattle herders and farmers I know is older than me, let alone him (Trump). I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“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 was.
“The first republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle routes where they used meagre resources then to put earth dams, wind mills, even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearer that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm is arrested, taken before the court, the farmer is called to submit his bill and if he can’t pay, the cattle are sold, but subsequent leaders, VVIPs (very very important persons), encroached on the cattle routes, they took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him, this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing on which the respective leadership was failing the nation.
“So, please encourage your friends, the elite, to reflect on what this administration has done, what APC has done and what we have achieved. Well I am doing my best, God has given me two chances.’’
The President also said the days of insufficient collaboration, coordination and synergy among implementing ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, were over.
He said: “I have directed that essential coordination delivery unit in the office of the secretary of the government of the federation should be revived to ensure we focus on results. The SGF is to ensure regular reports on progress submitted.”
President Buhari, who lamented that the elites had poor judgment of his administration, called on Nigerians to plead with the elites to make objective and fair judgement about the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration.
“I want the Nigerian elites, please encourage them, to judge us fairly. I have done more for the country with less resources,’’ he said.
He said the average production of oil in the country, from 1999 to 2014, was 2.1 million barrels per day sold at an average price of $100.
“When we came, it collapsed to $37, $38 per barrel, you know it. And the militants were unleashed on the administration, and the production went down to half a million barrels per day.
“I want you to please reflect, what was the condition of the infrastructure then, in spite of those earnings. The roads, the rail is dead and there was no power, up till now no power; where does the money go?”