Buhari's spokesperson, Femi Adesina, is under attack for his comments on Fulani herdsmen.
There have been widespread insinuations that Buhari has been soft on the killer herdsmen because most of them are his kinsmen.
Buhari is of the Fulani stock and boasts a cattle farm of his own.
“Something that is disturbing that I have heard about, is linking those developments to the fact that a Fulani man is president and so, he is brooking such kind of evil acts.
“I think that is very unkind. And I will try to back my position with statistics.
“In 2013, particularly, there were nine cases of herdsmen invading communities in Benue state alone and more than 190 people were killed.
“In 2014, there were about 16 of such tragic developments with more than 231 people killed. And then there was a change of government in May 2015. But between January and May 2015, there were six attacks which left about 335 people dead.
“Now, the question is, during that period, did we have a Fulani president?
“This is showing us that the issue of herdsmen attacking settlements, attacking farmers, attacking communities is pure criminality and it is something that government must deal with.
“It is the duty of government to preserve the lives of the citizenry. It is the responsibility of government to maintain law and order and that this government is determined to do.
“Therefore, let nobody say that all this is happening because we have a Fulani president.
“We have had many Fulani presidents in the past and this issue of herders and local communities at loggerheads has predated this government.
“But I will just like to appeal to Nigerians that the Muhammadu Buhari government is determined to crack this issue, is determined to get to the bottom of it and it will get done.”
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with what Adesina said.
He is paid to defend his boss and that’s exactly what he was doing in this instance.
The spokesperson also promised that the Buhari administration will deal with the crisis and halt the mass murder of innocent Nigerians by rampaging pastoralists.
However, presidential spokespersons have to be a lot more proactive in their dealings. It is also not the right time for a presidential spokesperson to be harking back to a previous regime while striving to make a point.
The school of thought that suggests that Buhari is sympathetic to the cause of the herdsmen has been there before pastoralists killed over 50 persons in the Agatu village of Benue State in 2016.
There have been several herdsmen killings since the Agatu massacre, with critics wondering why the attackers haven’t been prosecuted in consonance with the nation’s laws.
A decent presidency communication outfit would have responded to the allegations a lot earlier and not wait for the rumours to assume lives of their own before taking to Facebook.
It’s the timing of Adesina’s response and not the content therein, that should be questioned.
Once we are done with that, we can then begin to sift through the veracity of his comments, while allowing time to sort out the rest.