Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, has tackled by his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, after he defended herdsmen who carry AK-47 riffles.
Yesterday, Governor Mohammed accused Governor Ortom of being intolerant of other tribes in his state and for also sponsoring a bad media campaign against the Fulani ethnic group.
He stated that Fulani herdsmen carry AK-47 rifles to protect themselves since the government isn’t protecting them. He said;
“The governor that is most wrong is the governor of Benue State, my brother, and colleague Governor Samuel Ortom. If you don’t accommodate other tribes, we are also accommodating your tribes in Bauchi and other places. We have so many Tiv people farming in Alkaleri, in Tafawa Balewa, farming in Bogoro LGAs; has anybody told them to go?
We have not because it’s their own inalienable rights 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 Bauchi, Gombe and Borno.
And now, the Fulani man is practicing the tradition of trans-human, pastoralism, he has been exposed to the dangers of the forests, the animals, and now, the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth, his cows, he had no option than to carry Ak-47 and defend himself 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.”
Reacting to the statement, Governor Ortom said he finds it shocking that a colleague, who took the oath of office as he also did, to protect and preserve the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, now takes the lead in violating provisions of the same constitution by calling for lawlessness. He said;
“Governor Ortom wonders which section of the law the Bauchi State Governor cited to support herdsmen’s free movement around the country with sophisticated weapons.
He recalls that it was the same Governor Mohammed who once said on national television that a Fulani man is a global citizen and therefore does not need a visa to come to Nigeria and that the forests belong to herdsmen.
Governor Ortom wonders if his friend and colleague in Bauchi State knows a thing or two about the horrendous activities of herders in parts of the country to warrant the emotional defence and justification that he has repeatedly put forward in their favour’