Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has said Fulani herdsmen go about with AK-47 rifles in order to defend themselves against cattle rustlers.
Bala was speaking at closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondent’s Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists on Thursday, held at the Command Guest House in Bauchi State.
The Governor who spoke on the theme ‘The Role of the Media in Promoting Peace in Nigeria,’ lambasted his Benue State counterpart, Governor Samuel Ortom for his poor handling of the farmer-herder crisis, adding that events in the Southeast and Southwest have degenerated to this point because of Ortom’s lacklustre efforts in addressing the issue.
Mohammed, 62, said, “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 (Samuel) Ortom; he started all these. If you don’t accommodate other tribes we are also accommodating your people in Bauchi and other places.”
“We have so many Tiv people working and farming in Alkaleri, farming in Tafawa Balewa, farming in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi; has anyone asked them to go? We have not, because it is their constitutional rights 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 Bauchi, Gombe and Borno.”
“And now, the Fulani man is practicing the tradition of trans-human, pastoralism, he has been exposed to the dangers of the forests, the animals, and now, the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth, his cows, he had no option than to carry Ak-47 and defend himself because the society and the government are not protecting him.”
“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.”
The Governor further commended journalists for their unbiased reporting and urged them to continue to carry out their job in ways that will foster peace in Nigeria.