Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has clarified comments he made justifying Fulani herdsmen carrying Ak-47 rifles for self-defense.
Recall that Bala Mohammed had said Fulani herdsmen carry firearms to protect themselves against cattle rustlers who attack, kill and take away their possessions.
The Bauchi governor slammed the South-west for refusing to accommodate herdsmen.
This comment generated a lot of backlash from different quarters of the country.
However, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, Mohammed said the primary objective of his comment was to avert the dangerous prospect of a nation-wide backlash and generalization of the Fulani clan as criminals.
Gidado stated that the Bauchi governor’s reference to AK47 was simply to put in perspective the predicament and desperation of those law-abiding Fulani herdsmen who, while carrying out their legitimate cow-rearing business, have become serial victims of cattle rustling, banditry, kidnapping and assassination.
He said these were the people who, in the absence of any protection from the security agencies, are forced to resort to self-help, to defend both their means of livelihood and their lives.
Speaking further, he said Mohammed’s description of forests, as “no man’s land” is a carry-over from his own geo-political environment where a pastoralist could set up camp, in any forest, for a few weeks without causing any uproar or opposition.
He stated that all those vilifying Gov. Mohammed should instead tackle governors whose lack of restraint is responsible for the escalation of this crisis.