- Governor Samuel Ortom has responded to the recent comments of his Bauchi counterpart concerning the herdsmen crisis
- The governor stated that the comments of Governor Bala Mohammed are disappointing
- Governor Mohammed had openly declared support for herdsmen bearing arms while herding their cattle across the country
Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom has described the recent comments of his Bauchi counterpart, Bala Mohammed, concerning the herdsmen crisis, as disappointing.
Governor Ortom said the comments made by Mohammed violates the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.
Governor Mohammed had at an event on Thursday, February 11 justified the use of AK-47 by Fulani pastoralists across the country while herding their cattle.
The governor said the herdsmen have no choice but to arm themselves since the government has failed to protect them.
He went on to say the forests in Nigeria are not owned by individual states but by the federal government.
Reacting to the comments in a statement sent to Legit.ng by his spokesman, Terver Akase, Governor Ortom expressed shock over the Bauchi governor's support for herdsmen bearing arms.
Part of the statement read:
“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.
“In reference to Governor Bala Mohammed’s comment that there are Benue people who are freely doing business in Bauchi and elsewhere, Governor Ortom states that Benue indigenes in Bauchi have been law-abiding and do not carry arms to attack their hosts, noting that Fulani, as well as many other Nigerians residing in Benue who respect laws of the land, also live peacefully with their hosts.”
Recall that Governor Ortom on Thursday, February 11 asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security.
The governor also stated that those carrying out attacks on communities in Nigeria are not Nigerians but foreign Fulani herdsmen, who he said took advantage of the country's porous borders to gain entry.
Similarly, Senator Francis Fadahunsi has declared that the unhindered cattle movement in Nigeria is responsible for the herders/farmers crisis in the country.
The senator who represents Osun West Senatorial District in the National Assembly also declared his support for those calling for legislation that would stop the movement of cattle across the country.
Jerrywright Ukwu is a senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng based in Abuja. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also an active member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books.