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Mohammed, Akeredolu in war of words over herdsmen’s right in Ondo forest

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Forest

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State on Friday told his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, that no Nigerian needs his (Akeredolu’s) permission to live in the forest of the state.

Mohammed, in a fresh outburst on the recent order by the Ondo State governor that criminals should vacate government forest reserves, said it is the prerogative of every Nigerian to reside wherever he desires.

He also said that his reference to the  right of herders to carry AK 47 to protect themselves and their cattle was only a figure of speech.

In his first reaction, penultimate Friday, to the Ondo State eviction order on criminals occupying its forest reserves, Mohammed berated his colleagues in South-West and South-East for the manner in which they are handling the herders’ crisis and claimed they are not accommodating people from other ethnic groups.

He said: “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.”

He said herders “have no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting them. It is not his (herder’s) fault, it is the fault of the government and the people; you don’t criminalize all of them because in every tribe there are criminals. You should be very sensitive. We have to be careful.”

Governor Akeredolu however labeled Mohammed’s advocacy for herders to carry the assault gun as careless and despicable. He said: “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.

“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.

“As long as Nigeria’s consideration remains unchanged, it is still unlawful for any unauthorised persons to carry prohibited arms. The statement is most despicable, highly recommended for the dust bin of careless talks.”

Reacting to Mohammed’s latest comments, Governor Akeredolu said he would  not “engage or confront  anyone who has the mindset of a crisis entrepreneur or war monger.”

“Very provoking and insensitive as the statement appears, we can only err on the side of caution by advising Governor Bala Mohammed not set Nigeria on fire by his thoughts that are highly destructive and undermining national cohesion.

“Nigerians should ignore him and rather focus on those issues that can bring about peace and engender unity. He is stronger war monger than killers and criminals under any guise and without any colouration”

 

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