If there is any hope that the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, will apologize for his alleged support for the Fulani herdsmen to carry Ak-47 riffles in their pastoral practices, it has been quashed by the address of the Bauchi state governor – the uncompromising defender of Fulani herders.
In Governor Mohammed’s words:
“What I will do, I will not say it here, but I will do everything possible to make sure I protect you and lend support to you because I know you mean well.
“Through time and history, you have been seen to be cajoled, lampooned and subjected to caricature but you remained humane, you remained simple, you don’t show so much aggression and of course, that humility is always what we recognise and this is what a character that should always try to show.
“Please, don’t carry the AK-47 that I made a figurative allusion to. Try to make sure that you remain peaceful.”
“That brings me to the issue of the Fulani which we kicked against and we have no apology for what we have done, but what we have done, is to say the truth. There is no tribe that is free from criminality and we are not saying that to spite anybody or to spark any unnecessary controversy.
“We have made the point, Nigerians across the board have discussed it and I am happy to say that from all indications, the majority of sensible Nigerians have appreciated what we have said and that is the point.
“I will therefore, need not mention anything about this matter for fear that there will be controversy or it will be escalated and I will listen to the voices of reason and keep quiet about it.”
“I must call on our brothers, the Fulani, to make sure that they make their activities free of criminality. They must make sure that they fish out the bad eggs among them because criminality is criminality.
“Inasmuch as we try to protect them and show Nigerians that they cannot be profiled badly, they should also make efforts to show that a majority of them are good citizens and they are contributing positively to the growth and development of Nigeria because our protein needs in the country will not have been met without the sacrifices that they are making.
“That is why we’ve set up a committee in Bauchi State and very soon, we’re going to implement the recommendations of that committee in a manner that we will free resources that belong to the pastoralists. They must have their own right of way so that we will reduce the conflicts between the Fulani and the farmers because they are the ones that provide our sustenance on a daily basis.
“I must call on our traditional institutions, our local authorities, forest officers, to make sure that they heed the warning that we have given earlier so that they can stop the encroachment that is causing a lot of conflicts.”