The Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has appealed to all arms-bearing herders to drop their weapons, particularly the AK-47 as the country continues to grapple with various security challenges.
The governor made the appeal on Wednesday, during the official launch of the 2021 Annual Livestock Vaccination Campaign at Galambi cattle ranch in the state.
Speaking further, he assured all innocent farmers, herders and people of the state that their wellbeing will remain a priority of his government while efforts are being made to reduce the farmer-herder clashes.
“I will do everything to protect you and support you because through time and history, you seem to have been lampooned, subjected to caricature, but you remain humane, simple, you don’t show so much aggression and of course, that humility, is always what we recognize,” Governor Mohammed said.
“Please don’t carry the AK-47; try to make sure that you remain peaceful”.
He also promised to continue to be a voice for the innocent Fulani herdsmen while advising them to conduct themselves peacefully and identify the miscreants among them for punitive measures.
Meanwhile, Governor Mohammed said he has no apology for speaking up against ethnic profiling of Fulani Herdsmen.
He, however, assured Nigerians that his previous comments were not intended to generate controversies and escalate tension.
Weeks ago, the governor had defended the herdmen who carry arms, stating that they only do so as a means of self-defence because they are being attacked and killed by cattle rustlers.
“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 had said.
Last Friday, he however, clarified the statement, explaining that he only used ‘AK-47’ as a figure of speech.
“It is a figure of speech to show you the despondence, the desperation and frustration and the agony that this particular person is exposed to by his own people, by his own tribe and by other tribes who have all seen him as a criminal and therefore, he has the inalienable right to protect himself,” the governor said in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“What I said in that context, I was addressing the media people. And the topic was the use of the media to foster national unity and I was trying to situate the problem,” the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) explained.
“The Fulani man is so exposed, dehumanised, demonised in fact, because he is being seen as a bandit and so, anywhere he goes, he is being pursued. Not only in the southwest or the southeast, even in the north because he is in the cattle route, his commonwealth which I call his cows, are being taken and rustled and of course, sometimes, they are fined beyond your imagination.