THE Mutual Union of Tiv in the United Kingdom, MUTUK, has slammed Bauchi State Governor, Bala Muhammed, for justifying the carrying of AK-47 by Fulani herdsmen to protect themselves while grazing their herds.
This is even as MUTUK calls on the National Assembly to urgently pass an anti-open grazing law as obtainable in other climes devoid of tribal and sectional leanings that would restore peace and trust amongst the citizenry.
Recall that Governor Muhammed recently stated that the nomadic herdsmen needed AK-47 to protect themselves because the government has failed to protect them.
The governor criticised his Benue state counterpart, Samuel Ortom, for his ‘negative perception of Fulani herders,’ a situation he said is contrary to the situation in his state, where Tiv farmers are carrying out their farm business uninterrupted.
But MUTUK, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Ms Salome Biam, and made available to newsmen in Makurdi yesterday, described Governor Muhammed’s statement as unfortunate and urged well-meaning Nigerians to condemn it.
“While most Nigerians/groups are working on de-escalating the rising ethnic tensions, and encouraging regional and gender-specific approaches toward ending the spate of insecurity, the recent comments by the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, justifying Fulani herdsmen carrying guns to protect themselves it’s quite unfortunate and should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.
“For the records, the Tivs in Bauchi State do not go about killing, kidnapping, raping and destroying farms of their host, but are law-abiding going about their legitimate businesses.
“The Benue state government acted responsibly and was courageous not minding the political outcome, enacted anti-open grazing law to protect her citizens against these criminal elements which many state governments have since followed suit.
“However, it is quite an irony that Governor Bala Mohammed would throw a vitriolic attack on His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom for fulfilling his oath of office by signing a law to protect Benue citizens.
“One wonders why an elected Governor would openly support criminals illegally bearing arms while attacking a colleague who courageously signed a law to protect her citizens.
“We are urging Governor Bala Mohammed and his cohorts with such parochial mindset not to reduce this grave threat to National security to tribal bickering.
“Civilised nations have long embraced ranching as a way of rearing cattle and we believe that is the way forward in restoring peace amongst farmers/herdsmen in Nigeria,” Biam said.
MUTUK also described the prevailing scenario as an indictment on the Federal Government
which it said, instead of acting, gives flimsy excuses thereby allowing increasing killings, rape, kidnapping by Fulani herdsmen to spread from the Middle Belt Southward.
“While rebuking Governor Bala Mohammed
for his unguarded utterances, we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to show leadership and the political will rather than maintaining a studied silence before the utterances of sycophants and accidental leaders provoke a civil war,” MUTUK