Gov Bala Defended Innocent Fulanis, Not Criminal Herdsmen -Media Aide
By Samuel Ohwovoriole
Senior Special Assistant on media to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Mukhtar Gidado on Sunday released a statement he personally signed debunking the claim that Governor Bala Mohammed defended the carrying of AK47 riffles by herders.
He said at no time did the Governor set out to justify criminality by anyone, no matter the person’s ethnic nationality. Rather, he admonished us, in the interest of national unity, to avoid wholesale branding of any ethnic group as it is inconceivable that any one group can be made up of only criminals.
By extension, the Governor made it abundantly clear that it will be inappropriate to label any one tribe based on the crimes of a few members of the ethnic group.
He said, the Governor explained that not every herdsman is a criminal, the 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.
“These are 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.
“A constitutionalist which he has proved over time, all through his political career, Governor Bala Mohammed will be the last person to advocate a subversion of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” He added
And that the Governor”s description of forests, as “no man’s land”, (please read as gift of nature), 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.
“To interpret such a temporary stay as a form of ‘land grab’ by the Fulani herdsmen is completely incorrect. In actual fact, neither does such temporary habitation of the forest inconvenience anyone nor does the itinerant Fulani sojourner, bother anyone about his plight in the forest characterised by life without assess to electricity, pipe borne water, good roads or hospitals.
“On the contrary, Bala Mohammed is very familiar with the Land Use Act, including the criteria for land acquisition and cannot therefore seek to undermine the statute which, as Governor, he has sworn to uphold.
Nevertheless, he strongly reminds all stakeholders, in the Nigeria project, that the delicate nature of our diversity coupled with the fact that we are interwoven in many respects, calls for reasoned circumspection in handling inter-ethnic hostility of the nature that the ejection of herdsmen, from parts of the country, is degenerating into.
“It is his fervent wish that, together, all stakeholders will work towards re-establishing inter-ethnic trust and harmony that has been so badly dented, within the past few weeks or months,” he said.
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