President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to deal with the incessant herdsmen and farmers’ clashes across the country.
The promised to deal decisively with perpetrators of violence.
Buhari said, “The age-long conflict between herders and farmers that was being exploited by those seeking to plant the seeds of discord and disunity amongst our people, is being addressed decisively.
“We will sustain and continue to support the commendable efforts by all including civil society organisations, local and states governments and our traditional and religious leaders in finding durable solution to this problem.
“This being a transhumance issue, we are working with countries in our region that are also facing similar difficulties to complement our common efforts. “In this context, I must warn that the perpetrators of murder and general mayhem in the name of defending or protecting herders or farmers will face the full wrath of the law.
“Meanwhile, we urge all peace-loving Nigerians to reject any simplistic portrayal, at home or abroad, of this conflict as either religious or ethnic-based.”
Buhari also cautioned against the abuse of new technologies, in his third Independence Day anniversary broadcast to the nation since he rose to power.
He said, “Now we have in our hands technology that is a powerful tool that we can and should use for knowledge and understanding,” the President said on Monday.
“As with other countries, we must also learn how to manage those tendencies that, instead, look to abuse new technologies to provoke passions and stir tensions.”
Dealing with the problem is a challenge the President believes Nigeria has never faced.
The President, therefore, sought collective action to deal with it.
“We must all rise to the responsibility of shutting out those disruptive and corrosive forces that hide in today’s world of social media,” he said.
President Buhari and top members of his administration have repeatedly warned about the dangers of fake news and misuse of the social media.
In reiterating that warning in his Independence Day anniversary address, the President insisted that ignoring facts could undermine the country’s democracy.
“We need critical minds and independent thinking, to question and question until we are satisfied we have the facts. Otherwise, all the progress we have made as a democracy since 1999 is at stake,” he warned.
After 58 years of Independence, the President said it was important for Nigerians to understand that taking shortcuts won’t work.
He said, “Developing a thriving democracy is not an easy task. There can be no quick fixes or shortcuts. These are the most important lessons that we have learnt in our 58 years as an independent nation.”
With the 2019 general elections around the corner, the President promised to ensure that Nigeria’s electoral body operates independently.
“I have committed myself many times to ensure that elections are fully participatory, free and fair and that the Independent National Electoral Commission will be exactly independent and properly staffed and resourced,” he said.
“The ballot box is how we make our choice for the governments that rule in our name.”