In response to reports of herdsmen engaging in criminal activities, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed on Thursday said Fulani herders have no option but to carry AK-47 for self-defence because they are being attacked and killed by cattle rustlers.
The governor ascribed the practice to the failure of society and government to guarantee the safety of herders while in the forest.
Commenting on recent developments in the south-west, Mohammed warned against the criminalisation of the entire Fulani tribe.
He also condemned South West, South-East Governors, especially Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over the manner in which they are handling farmer-herder clashes.
“The Fulani man is practicing 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.
“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.
While condemning his colleagues in South-West and South-East over the manner in which they are handling the herders’ crisis, Mohammed said these governors are not accomodating other tribes.
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, 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.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom had earlier accused the Federal Government of failing to secure the country by being bias in handling cases of attacks allegedly carried out by armed herdsmen.
Ortom who resumed duty on Wednesday, February 3 after recovering from COVID-19 infection reacted to the recent outcry against the atrocities allegedly committed by herdsmen ranging from kidnapping, murder, rape, destruction of farmland among others.
He urged the Federal Government to take quick action before the nation descends into crisis.