By Haruna Mohammed |
Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed, has denied reports making the rounds that he is backing criminal herdsmen in the country.
The governor, in a statement by his media aide, Muktar Gidado, said “The primary objective of the governor is to avert the dangerous prospect of nation-wide backlash as tempers were flaring up and given that the phenomenon of inter-ethnic migration, is a national pastime involving all ethnic groups in Nigeria.”
“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 anyone group can be made up of only criminals.”
Governor Mohammed said it was erroneous to label any tribe based on the crimes of a few members of the ethnic group; adding “The governor’s reference to AK47 was simply to put in perspective, the predicament and desperation of law-abiding Fulani herdsmen who, while carrying out their legitimate cow-rearing business, have become serial victims of cattle rustling, banditry, kidnapping and assassination.
“As ‘no man’s land’, (please read as gift of nature), is a carry-over from his own geopolitical 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.”
“The Governor would want it placed on record that his statement was intended to caution all stakeholders to guard against escalating the tension, just as many patriotic stakeholders, particularly from the North, have been working round the clock to avert reprisal actions that could throw the entire country into a cauldron of unimaginable proportions”, the statement read in part.
The statement says genuine reforms, modern ranching and other innovations done genuinely help addressing the problem of herdsmen rather than media hypes that criminalise an entire tribe.