The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has faulted the statement made by his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, which supports the free movement of herders with AK47 rifles.
Mohammed had said that Fulani herders use the weapons to protect themselves from the dangers in the forest and also from cattle rustlers.
He said, “Because the Fulani man is practising the tradition of pastoralism, he has been exposed to the vagaries of the forest, cattle rustlers who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth, which is the cows,” he said.
“He has no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting him, what is his fault; it’s the fault of the government and the people. You don’t criminalize all of them, because, in every tribe, there are criminals.”
Mohammed also criticised Samuel Ortom, the governor of Benue, whom he accused of fuelling the criminalization of the Fulani tribe.
Faulting the Governor’s statement, Ortom, in a statement through his spokesman, Terver Akase, wondered which law Mohammed cited to support his stance.
The statement 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.
“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.”