Bala Mohammed, Bauchi state governor, has recanted his justification for herdmen who carry weapons in the course of their nomadic endeavour.
Mohammed has made the headlines in recent weeks over his insistence that there is nothing wrong in herdsmen possession of arms.
He had said at a recent event that “because the Fulani man has been exposed to the vagaries of the forest (including when) cattle rustlers who carry guns kill him, he has no option than to carry AK-47”.
His comment drew the ire of the public as Nigerians, including his counterparts in Ondo and Benue, castigated him for his position, with many saying such remarks could further aggravate the unsettling security situation in the country and undermine the effort of authorities in addressing the country’s security challenges.
But speaking at an annual livestock vaccination campaign on Wednesday, Mohammed cautioned herders against carrying weapons such as AK-47 rifles.
He appealed to the herders to fish out the criminals among them.
At the vaccination campaign held at the Galambi cattle ranch in the state capital, Mohammed, who sought to clarify his comment, said he spoke figurativel, hence calling on the herders not to misconstrue his comment or take it literally.
He appealed to them to go about their activities peacefully and leave in harmony with others around them.
“Please, don’t carry the AK-47 that I made a figurative allusion to. Try to make sure that you remain peaceful,” the governor said.
He, however, added that he has no apologies for those profiling the Fulanis as killers, adding that no tribe is devoid of criminals.
“We kicked against the profiling of the Fulanis as killers and kidnappers. We have no apology for what we have said, because what we have done is to say the truth — that there is no tribe or ethnic group that is free from criminality,” Mohammed said.
“We are not saying that to spite anybody or spark unnecessary controversy. We have made our point and Nigerians across the board have discussed it, and I am happy to say that from all indications, the majority of sensible Nigerians have appreciated what we have said and that is the point.
“What I will do, I will not say it here, but I will do everything possible to make sure I protect you and lend support to you, because I know you mean well.”
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