13th February, 2021
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has come under further attack over his comment that herdsmen have the right to own and carry around AK-47 rifles for the protection of their cows.
A group, Foundation for Good Governance and Social Change, (FGGSC), on Saturday in Benin, Edo state, described the comment as reckless, provocative, and divisive and may compel other Nigerians to resort to self-help by also bearing firearms to protect their valuables.
The group in a statement by its Executive Director, Comrade Austin Osakue, described Bala’s statement as unfortunate, considering the position he occupies as one of the governors in the federation.
He added that the statement has the potential of exacerbating the ethnic and religious tension across Nigeria.
“We wish to respond to the statement made by the governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed, to the effect that herdsmen have the right to own and carry around AK-47 rifles for protection of their cows.
“The is reckless, provocative, divisive, and unbecoming of the status of a governor in a pluralistic society like Nigeria.
“The statement has the potential of exacerbating the ethnic and religious tension across Nigeria. The statement elevates the status of cows far and above that of Nigerians.
“The statement opens the floodgates of self-help for Nigerians of other ethnic divides and geographical zones to resort to self-help and arm themselves,” Osakue said.
The group also berated President Muhammadu Buhari, for failing to reprimand the Bauchi state governor, whose comment, they said encourages the bearing of firearms by the herdsmen all in the name of protecting their cattle against rustlers, which they have allegedly used to kill innocent citizens in some parts of the country.
“That the President Muhammadu Buhari’s federal government has not reprimanded the Bauchi’s governor so far paints a scenario of the voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau,” the statement said.
The group called on President Buhari and those fanning the ember of crisis to learn from the nation’s civil war, to avoid a repetition.
“How can one ethnic group constitute so much threat to the rest of Nigeria? Who are their backers? Why have repeated calls for ranches fallen on deaf ears?
“We call on the Buhari’s government to consult the history books. If it does, it will discover that the exact same events which led to the 30-month civil war between 1966 and 1970 are playing out now.
“Those who fail to learn from history will be forced to repeat it,” the statement concluded.