Nigerians are used to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari always blaming past administrations for the current travails bedeviling the country.
So, it was surprising on Wednesday that the president did not blame any past administration but publicly blamed former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was killed seven years ago for the ongoing killings across central Nigeria.
The killings have long been linked to herdsmen, and some herders of the Fulani ethnic group have claimed responsibility for some attacks.
But the president said Gaddafi, a dictator swept away by an uprising in 2011, is to blame for the alarming dimension of recent attacks.
Gaddafi was killed in October 2011 following weeks of violent uprising across Libya, ending his 42-year reign.
While meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury in London, Justin Welby, President Buhari said the arms Gaddafi provided to his supporters had filtered into Nigeria.
“The problem is even older than us,” Buhari said of killings. “It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.”
“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.
“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons,” Buhari said.