For the first time since he met the United States President Donald Trump in Washington in April 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed Monday that Trump unequivocally accused him of killing Christians in Nigeria.
However, he said he defended himself, telling Trump that the conflict between farmers and herders in Nigeria was caused by cultural matters and not dictated by ethnic or religious factors.
Buhari, who said he was put on the spot by Trump when he was alone with him, alleging that he (Buhari) was slaughtering Christians in Nigeria, added that the question startled him but he put his emotion under control.
The president, who made the disclosure when he deviated from his closing speech at the end of a two-day ministerial retreat in the Presidential Villa, said he was the only African leader from less developed countries that was invited by Trump at the time.
He asked his cabinet members how they would feel if they were the ones put on the spot and confronted with such a grave allegation, disclosing that he further told Trump that the conflicts were caused by successive leaders of the country who tampered with established grazing routes.
According to him, only Nigerian leaders in the First Republic kept grazing routes while subsequent ones encroached on them, adding that the crisis was older than him and much more than Trump whom he said he was still older than.
“I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited, and when I was in his office, only myself and himself. Only God is my witness. He looked at me in the face. He said ‘why are you killing Christians?’