OBINNA EZUGWU

Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has berated his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, for defending the use of AK-47 rifles by Fulani herdsmen.

Mohammed had while speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bauchi State Council on Thursday at the Command Guest House, argued that the herders carry AK-47 for self-defence because they are being attacked by cattle rustlers.

Akeredolu in a statement released by Donald Ojogo, the Ondo state commissioner for information and orientation described the Bauchi governor’s comments as careless and despicable.

“We read with dismay, the outburst in the purported statement by the Bauchi state governor. We are persuaded to believe he didn’t make that statement,” the statement said.

“If indeed he made that statement and owns up to its contents, it then means that the Bauchi state governor has declared on behalf of the federal government, an executive order which now allows all Nigerians, herdsmen inclusive, to carry prohibited firearms like assault rifles for self-defence.

“That is exactly what the governor has done and displayed by his conduct which brazenly depicts that whether other Nigerians like it or not, herdsmen must carry AK 47 for self-defence while other non-Fulani herdsmen must remain unarmed to be perpetual victims of arms wielding bandits.

“By that statement, the governor has in one breath, agreed that indeed Fulani herdsmen carry AK 47 and at the same time encouraging all to do likewise.

“The Bauchi governor has by his conduct and attitude, ushered us into the next level on the path to anarchy. He’s not fit for public office, persons of such impecunious disposition and character is not fit for public office.

”As long as Nigeria’s consideration remains unchanged, it is still unlawful for any unauthorised persons to carry prohibited arms. The statement is most despicable, highly recommended for the dust bin of careless talks.”

In January, Akeredolu ordered herders to vacate Ondo forest reserves, saying “bad elements” had turned the forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities