Bauchi Gov clarifies comments on herdsmen carrying Ak-47 for self-defence

Gov Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state, on Sunday, explained himself over a comment he made about Fulani herdsmen carrying Ak-47 rifles for self-defence

The Governor’s clarification was contained in a statement issued by Mukhtar Gidado, his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media, said.

Mr Mohammed said the primary objective of his comment was to avert the dangerous prospect of a nation-wide backlash and generalisation of the Fulani clan as criminals.

According to the statement, Mr Mohammed said it would be inappropriate to label an entire tribe as criminals, based on the crimes of a few members of the ethnic group.

“The attention of the Bauchi State government has been drawn to reactions from various members of the public to gov. Mohammed’s speech, at the closing ceremony of the Press Week of the Correspondent’s Chapel of the NUJ in Bauchi State, last Thursday.

“The Governor used the occasion to weigh in on the contentious issue of clashes between herdsmen and farmers, particularly against the backdrop of the eviction and other forms of restriction orders, issued by some state governments and non-governmental entities.

“The primary objective of the Governor was to avert the dangerous prospect of a nation-wide backlash as tempers flared and given that the phenomenon of inter-ethnic migration, is a national pastime involving all ethnic groups in Nigeria.

“By extension, the Governor made it abundantly clear that it will be inappropriate to label any one tribe based on the crimes of a few members of the ethnic group,” said the SSA.

The statement further stressed that the governor’s reference to AK47 was simply to put in perspective the predicament and desperation of those law-abiding Fulani herdsmen who, while carrying out their legitimate cow-rearing business, have become serial victims of cattle rustling, banditry, kidnapping and assassination.

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