BALA Mohammed, Bauchi State governor, has come under criticism over his comments justifying and supporting armed Fulani herdsmen in the country.
Mohammed, who spoke at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bauchi State Council, on Thursday, said that Fulani herdsmen had no choice than ply their trade with AK-47 rifles.
“The Fulani man is practising the tradition of trans-human, pastoralism. He has been exposed to the battery of the forests, the animals, and now, the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth – that is his cows. He had no option than to carry Ak-47 because the society and the government are not protecting him,” he said.
“It is not his fault, it is the fault of the government and the people. You don’t criminalise all of them because in every tribe there are criminals. You should be very sensitive. We have to be careful,” Governor Mohammed said.
He also condemned South-West and South-East governors, including Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, over the manner in which they were handling farmer-herder clashes.
He faulted the quit notice given to Fulani herders in some southern states, particularly Ondo, pointing out that the “southern governors are wrong.”
“On the herders-farmers clashes, you have seen what our colleagues in the South-West are doing and some of them in South-East. Some of us told them with all modesty and humility – you are wrong.
“But the person that is most wrong is the Governor of Benue State, my brother and my colleague, Governor Ortom. He started all these. If you don’t accommodate other tribes, we are also accommodating your tribes in Bauchi and other places.
“We have so many Tiv people working and farming in Alkaleri, farming in Tafawa Balewa, and farming in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi. Has anyone asked them to go? We have not, because it is their constitutional right to be there.
“We have Yoruba people in Bauchi for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria. Nobody has told them to go. Some of them have risen to become permanent secretaries in Gombe, Bauchi, and Borno,” Governor Mohammed added.
But Nigerians have taken to the social media to berate the governor for his comments.
Shehu Sani, a former Nigerian lawmaker, described Mohammed’s comments as infamy.
My Brother,Bauchi Governor’s justification for AK47 amounts to baptizing infamy.
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) February 12, 2021
Below are some of the reactions:
Bala Mohammed is openly defending Fulani herdsmen who carry AK-47. I didn’t hear him condemn killings. He is speaking the minds of a lot of influential decision makers. That exactly is where the problem is and why it doesn’t took like they are ready for a solution any time soon.
— Dr Dípò Awójídé (@OgbeniDipo) February 12, 2021
Rich men who live in the cities buy cows and gives to herdsmen and also equip them with AK-47 to protect the cows.
Herdsman uses the gun to secure grazing fields for thecows, for his own petty criminal activity and makes the guns available when it is time to push "agenda."
— Kelvin Odanz (@MrOdanz) February 12, 2021
Imagine the Governor of Bauchi justifying why herdsmen carry Ak47. And you expect these guys to protect you from herdsmen? I know for a fact that only the President can license a private individual to bear arms like AK47. Who licensed herdsmen to carry AK47?#BuhariTormentor
— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) February 12, 2021
The reality is herdsmen act like they r above the law n they definitely r as they carry out their vices with impunity.If a police stop u as an ordinary 🇳🇬 with a pistol in ur bag.They r likely to shot u to death b4 asking abt d gun.Yet,d herdsmen carry AK47 like a walking stick.
— Stanley Goodluck (@stanleynanka) February 12, 2021