It maybe considered troublesome for government to allow the fulanis to go about with Ak-47 guns for the sake of cows and expect other ethnic nationals not to do same for the sake of their lives.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed on Thursday said Fulani herders have no option but to carry AK-47 for self-defence because they are being attacked and killed by cattle rustlers.
This is coming after Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom said on Wednesday February 03, 2021 that he had asked the Federal Government to licence him and other citizens to carry Ak-47 so that the Tiv people in Benue state can be able to engage the killer Fulani herdsmen in a fight.
Ortom condemned the action of President Muhammadu Buhari which it described as an unfair act of arming the Fulanis with Ak-47 and disarming other ethnic groups.
Bola Mohammed while reacting to Samuel Ortom statement said:“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”.
Governor Ortom in a letter to President Mohammadu Buhari on Wednesday, did state in the letter thus: “License Law-abiding Nigerians to carry weapons in self-defence;
“Ensure justice, fairness and equity in all issues relating to public safety and security;
“In Benue State, 19 out of 23 Local Government Areas have been affected by attacks by Fulani herdsmen leading to loss of lives, destruction of property and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Benue people who are now living in Internally Displaced Persons Camps and host communities across the State.
“The total number of Internally Displaced Persons currently in the Camps in Benue State is 483,692 persons”.
Governor Bala Mohammed reacted further to Ortom statement: “We have so many Tiv people working and farming in Alkaleri, farming in Tafawa Balewa, farming in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi; has anyone asked them to go? We have not, because it is their constitutional right to be there.
“We have Yoruba people in Bauchi for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria. Nobody has told them to go; some of them have risen to become permanent secretaries in Gombe, Bauchi, and Borno”
Governor Ortom in his statement did not ask the Fulanis to leave Benue state as insinuated by the Bala Mohammed.
The Benue State Governor only said he wants a stop to the handling of mass destructive weapons by the fulanis in guise of protecting cows which many of them have turned those weapons into robberies, raping, kidnapping and killing of innocent unarmed and unsuspecting victims in various communities across the country.
Ortom:”It is important to point out that these are not sentiments directed against Fulanis who are indigenous to Nigeria and have been living at peace with other Nigerians. Testimonies abound in that regard.
“For example, my wife and I were accommodated by a Fulani man while in school at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Till date, we are still very good family friends and he visits me occasionally in Benue.
“This point underscores the pain we all have had to go through to understand the tragedy where armed herdsmen from Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and other neighbouring countries are pushing the whole country to the precipice”.
Governor Ortom added thus: “The Federal Government should develop a National Ranching Policy in line with global best practice in animal husbandry.
“Today, open grazing is extinct in most countries of the world. In Europe, America, Asia and in many countries in Africa, pastoralism has long given way to ranching.
“How can Nigeria then still be battling with a problem of pastoralism that in other countries has been solved over a century ago?
“According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), India has 303 million cattle, Brazil, 226 million, China, 100 million, USA, 93 million, Argentina, 53 million and Australia 27 million.
“All these countries ranch their animals. Nigeria has less than 20 million cattle which could also be easily ranched.
“Unfortunately, the cows are allowed to either roam the streets freely or encroach on people’s farms and other investments.
“A Ranching policy in Nigeria will provide avenue for both crop farmers and those involved in animal husbandry to increase production using modern technology.
“This is the only way out of ending farmers/herders conflict;
“Direct the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to enforce Prohibition of Open Grazing Laws passed by various States of the federation;
“Abolish Open Visa policy and direct relevant security agencies to ensure full compliance with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transhumance.
“Condemn the atrocities perpetrated by armed herdsmen; arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other Fulani Socio-cultural groups who have consistently admitted to the wanton killings and destruction of communities across the country.
“These include Husaini Yusuf Bosso (National Vice President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association), Badu Salisu Ahmadu and Umar Amir Shehu, (President and Secretary of Fulani Nationality Movement), Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo and Engr. Saleh Alhassan (President and Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore) along with their sponsors;
“Proscribe Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Fulani Nationality Movement, Fulani Herders Association and other violent Fulani extremist groups, as was done in the case of the Independent [Indigenous] People of Biafra (IPOB), given that the Global Terrorism Index ranks Fulani militia as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world”