President Muhammadu Buharis Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has alleged that some politicians in opposition to the presidents administration are behind the ongoing herders and farmers conflict in the Middle Belt.
The struggle for access and control of lands over which roaming herdsmen graze their cattle has led to conflict with local farmers all over the country, resulting in the death of hundreds just this year alone with herders credited with a majority of the attacks.
In an article he published on Sunday, April 22, 2018, the president's aide said the federal government has evidence that most of attacks were sponsored by politicians who are trying to blackmail the government.
He wrote, "Today, government has irrefutable evidence that much as most of these killings are arising from herdsmen-farmers attacks, some of it is driven by politicians.
"The recent arrests by the army in Taraba State point to a clear political sponsorship, and the kingpins, some of whom have been arrested have been handed over to the DSS for further investigation.
"Others who are being sought have either gone into hiding or they are pulling strings of blackmail to force the hands of government to abandon the search for them.
"It is clear by now that the Middle Belt killings even if they are not caused by the opposition are no doubt seen as a political opportunity to set the tone for the 2019 elections."
President Buhari was subjected to heavy criticism two weeks ago when he blamed some of the conflict on former Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi, who died in 2011.
According to President Buhari, the conflict escalated due to Gaddafi's army of trained gunmen who escaped into Nigeria and started causing problems to local populations with their sophisticated weapons.