- A recent comment by the Bauch state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, continues to generate reactions
- The governor had justified the fact that herders bear arms when herding their cattle
- Professor Ishaq Akintola of the Muslim Rights Concern has faulted the position of the governor
Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, has declared that herdsmen have no right to carry AK-47 rifles.
Professor Akintola made the comment in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune published on Saturday, February 20.
Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed, recently said Fulani herdsmen carry AK-47 rifles in order to protect themselves from criminals who attack them and rustle their cows.
But, Professor Akintola said the comment of the Bauchi state governor was not well-thought-out.
“It is illegal for anyone to carry illegal arms. Bala Mohammed should not try to pull the wool over our faces. No herder has the right to carry dangerous weapons like AK-47. Are they going to war?
“Farms are being deserted in the northeast, northwest, north-central, south-west, and south-south. We have sent an invitation to famine and I pray the invitation will not be honoured. There may be famine very soon if the situation is not urgently addressed.
“A practice that threatens food production nationwide has to stop. Anybody with a loaded pistol has the power of life or death over his neighbour unless he is a law enforcement agent protecting the citizens. It is a different picture entirely when herders bear arms openly.
“Another dimension is the source of those weapons. Who gave herders AK-47 rifles? Your guess is as good as mine. It is most likely to be cow owners because herders are mere errand boys.
“Unfortunately, nobody sees the cow owners when cows are on the move or when they invade farms. We only see the herdsmen and assume that is all but there is more to it than meets the eye.”
He noted that one of the ways to address the herdsmen crisis is to unveil the owners of the cattle.
“The herders are poor workers employed to tend the cows. Only the owners can afford to buy AK47 for the herders. We must therefore identify the cow owners. Only the state governments can do this successfully.”
Legit.ng had reported that Governor Mohammed on Friday, February 19 defended his comment about armed herders.
According to the governor, his comment supporting herdsmen arming themselves with AK-47 rifles was a figure of speech endorsing their protection.
Recall that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state had earlier described the comments of his Bauchi counterpart supporting armed herdsmen, as disappointing.
According to the Benue state chief executive, herders bearing arms violates the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.
Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.