Herdsmen in the country bear arms for self-defense so says Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed.
The governor stated this yesterday at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bauchi State Council on Thursday at the Command Guest House.
Herders have been accused of allegedly being arrowheads of insecurity particularly in the Southern region where they indulge in criminal activities including kidnapping, raping, killing and criminal trespassing of lands. This is according to testimonials from kidnap victims, cited recently by the Ondo and Abia state governments.
On why herdsmen carry rifles, the governor said it is due to the failure of the federal government to provide security for them. He also berated his Benue state counterpart of starting the criminalization of the pastoralists.
“On the herders-farmers clashes, you have seen what our colleagues in the South-West are doing and some of them in the South-East. Some of us told them with all modesty and humility – you are wrong,” Mr Mohammed said during his keynote address with the theme, ‘The Role of the Media in Promoting Peace in Nigeria.’
“But the most wrong person 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 can also accommodate 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 practising 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,” he added.