On Wednesday, the Presidency has dismissed accusation by a media house that President Muhammadu Buhari is sympathetic to the activities of killer herdsmen.
In the editorial in question, the newspaper had accused the President of being indifferent to herdsmen atrocities.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said in a statement that there was no truth in the allegations of the media house.
He said: “We reject the September 4th, 2018, editorial of the media house which alleged that President Buhari had sympathy for criminality perpetuated by a misguided group.
“The editorial was not only disrespectful of the President and his office, but was also reckless, thoughtless, inflammatory and totally irresponsible.
“It is steadily becoming clear from the views, news and opinions of this newspaper that it will explore every opportunity and twist every fact to declare every Nigerian and ECOWAS member with Fulani blood a terrorists, who must be stripped of their rights as citizens, or worse subjected to ethnic cleansing.
“We believe and strongly insist that criminality perpetrated by some miscreants should not be used to demonize other responsible and decent members of the same ethnic group.
“The collective demonization of any ethnic group because of the misguided behaviour or conduct of criminals is improper and no responsible government will ever do so.
“The Punch editorial is, therefore, sheer blackmail and mischief designed to push its own sinister and unpatriotic agenda disguised as free speech.
“By inciting the people against an ethnic group because of the criminal activities of a few is unhelpful and deleterious to peace.
“Rather than proffer solutions, the editorial only regurgitated simplistic narratives of complex national issues, deliberately neglecting the broader and unbiased understanding and interpretation.
“After the highly biased and misleading editorial, the newspaper could not but come to terms with the established fact that climate change and criminality remained key drivers of the farmers-herdsmen conflict.
“Currently, a massive and fierce military operation is going on in Zamfara State to neutralise the activities of bandits who have been sacking communities and killing innocent people, and the security outfits have been deployed to safeguard lives and property.”