Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has expressed disappointment in Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State over his position on the farmers/herders clashes in the nation.
Ortom said he was disappointed in Mohammed, who accused him (Ortom) of worsening the farmer-herder crisis.
Responding to Governor Mohammed, the Benue State Governor in a statement through his media aide, Terver Akase, expressed shock that a colleague, who took oath of office to protect and preserve the Constitution, “now takes the lead in violating provisions of the same Constitution by calling for lawlessness”.
Ortom said defending herdsmen for bearing AK-47 rifle, was even more shocking.
Governor Mohammed had on Thursday while speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bauchi State Council, said that Fulani herders carried AK-47 for self-defence against cattle rustlers.
“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 but to carry an AK-47 and defend himself because the society and the government are not protecting him,” Mohammed had said.
“Governor Ortom wonders which section of the law the Bauchi State Governor cited to support herdsmen’s free movement around the country with sophisticated weapons.
“He recalls that it was the same Governor Mohammed who once said on national television that a Fulani man is a global citizen and therefore does not need a visa to come to Nigeria and that the forests belong to herdsmen.
“Governor Ortom wonders if his friend and colleague in Bauchi State knows a thing or two about the horrendous activities of herders in parts of the country to warrant the emotional defence and justification that he has repeatedly put forward in their favour.”
Reacting to Governor Mohammed’s statement that there are people from Benue State and other southern states doing business in Bauchi, Ortom said the difference is that people from Benue and the south do not carry arms to attack their hosts.
He noted that Fulani and other Nigerians residing in Benue State, who respect the laws of the land, live peacefully with their hosts, adding that his government has never been against law-abiding Nigerians in Benue.
“The Governor finds it unfortunate that those who are trusted with the people’s mandate and should ordinarily uphold truth and justice have chosen to mislead the country.
“He stresses the need for leaders to be cautious and retrace their steps which are capable of leading the country to anarchy.”
Reacting also to Governor Mohammed’s position, Governor Akeredolu noted that the statement made by the Bauchi Governor could lead Nigerians into the next level on the path to anarchy.
“We read with dismay, the outburst in the purported statement by the Bauchi State Governor. We are persuaded to believe he didn’t make that statement,” Akeredolu said in a statement through his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo.
“If, indeed, he made that statement and owns up to its contents, it then means that the Bauchi State governor has declared on behalf of the Federal Government, an executive order which now allows all Nigerians, herdsmen inclusive, to carry prohibited firearms like assault rifles for self-defence. That is exactly what the governor (Mohammed) has done and displayed by his conduct which brazenly depicts that whether other Nigerians like it or not, herdsmen must carry AK-47 for self-defence while other non-Fulani herdsmen must remain unarmed to be perpetual victims of arms-wielding bandits.”
He added that Governor Mohammed has admitted that “indeed Fulani herdsmen carry AK-47 and at the same time encouraging all to do likewise.”
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.