Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed on Wednesday said he would never apologize for speaking out against the profiling of patriotic Fulani herdsmen as killers and kidnappers.
Mohammed had last week said that “herders who carry AK-47 around do so to defend themselves against cattle rustlers that are rendering them bankrupt.” The position generated mixed reactions across the country.
Speaking yesterday during the official launch of the 2020/2021 annual livestock vaccination campaign at Galambi Cattle Ranch in Bauchi, Mohammed said no tribe or group was free from criminality, so labelling a particular tribe was unfair and would breed disunity in the country.
Reacting to his Benue counterpart, Samuel Ortom, who asked him to apologise for defending carrying of weapons by herders, he said the Fulani, over the years, had been making so much sacrifice in their pastoral life, adding that the supply of beef would not have been possible without herders’ contribution.
His words: “We kicked against the profiling of the Fulani as killers and kidnappers. We have no apology for what we have done because what we have done is to say the truth, that there is no tribe or group that is free from criminality. We are not saying that to spite anybody or spark unnecessary controversy, we have made our point.
“Nigerians have discussed it and I am happy to say that, from all indications, majority of sensible Nigerians have appreciated what we have said and that is the point. I need not mention anything of this matter for fear that controversy will be escalated, I will listen to voices of reason and keep quiet about it.”
He called on the Fulani to make their communities free of criminality.
“They must make sure that they fish out the bad eggs from among themselves because criminality is criminality. In as much as we will protect them from being profiled badly, they should make efforts to show that majority of them are good citizens, contributing positively to the growth and development of Nigeria,” he said.
ALSO, Bauchi Commissioner for Environment and Housing, Hamisu Shira, has said that Governor Ortom was covering up his non-performance with excuse herdsmen’s activities. He urged Ortom to prioritise good governance in Benue like his Bauchi counterpart.
“This is a governor that could not afford to pay salaries while the workers resorted to demonstrations,” Shira said.At a press conference yesterday, the commissioner lamented that Ortom was distracting Mohammed with his comment.