13th February, 2021
By Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state has lashed out at Bala Mohammed, his Bauchi state counterpart for justifying carrying of AK-47 by herdsmen that have been indicted for series of crimes across the country.
Akeredolu was reacting to assertion by Governor Mohammed at a forum organized by journalists last Wednesday in Bauchi that Fulani herders have no option but to carry AK-47 for self-defence because they were being attacked and killed by cattle rustlers in the forests where they are rearing their cattle.
The Bauchi state governor had also condemned the order by the Akeredolu and other governors in the South to herders to vacate forests in their area over their involvement in criminal activities.
“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,” Mohammed said at the occasion.
But while condemning the assertion by his Bauchi counterpart, Akeredolu in a statement released by Donald Ojogo, his commissioner for information and orientation, on Saturday accused Mohammed of encouraging Nigerians to carry arms against the provisions of the constitution.
The Ondo State Governor further argued that going by the Nigeria’s constitution, it is unlawful for any unauthorised persons to carry prohibited arms.
As such, he said the statement by his Bauchi State counterpart despicable and highly recommended for the dust bin of careless talks.
The statement by Akeredolu partly reads: “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 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.
“By that statement, the governor has in one breath, agreed that indeed Fulani herdsmen carry AK 47 and at the same time encouraging all to do likewise.
“The Bauchi governor has by his conduct and attitude, ushered us into the next level on the path to anarchy. He’s not fit for public office, persons of such impecunious disposition and character is not fit for public office.
“As long as Nigeria’s constiution 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.”