Last week, the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed had an episode of oral dysentery, leading to the reckless statement attributed to him that herdsmen need to carry AK47 rifles for self-defence.
It is true that most often, our politicians think with their rumps than their brains. That could be the only explanation worth considering. Indeed, Bala Mohammed was not thinking right.
In fact, that statement is very insensitive. Today, Nigeria is literally on the verge of precipitation, with killer herdsmen being at the heart of the crisis. But to Mr Bala Mohammed, herders should be allowed to walk about with AK47 rifles. The audacity of stupidity.
“Because the Fulani man is practising the tradition of pastoralism, he has been exposed to the vagaries of the forest. Cattle rustlers who carry guns kill him and take away his commonwealth, which is the cows,” Bala Mohammed had said.
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The lack of ideas on solving the herdsmen crisis is one thing. But for an incumbent governor of a state, a former senator and former minister to make such a reckless statement points to a fact that we are in deep trouble as a nation. Such a statement gives people like Sunday Igboho the needed boost in their ” ethnic entrepreneurship” venture.
No non-state actor should be bearing arms, definitely not AK 47 rifles. Unless Mr Bala Mohammed is proposing that anyone who feels threatened should be allowed to carry guns. His statement points to a failed state, one where the state can’t guarantee protection of its citizens.
Instead of Bala Mohammed and his fellow governors to come up with ideas on resolving this crisis; there was a round of tantrum-throwing between Samuel Ortom and Bala. When the governors fail to bring forth solutions, they engage in Real Housewives of Atlanta type of drama; a spectacle that can rival the wildly popular BBNaija.
It is ironic that common sense is coming from the least expected quarter; Governor Umar Guanduje. Guandollar has been the most sensible among the governors. He has been advocating for the banning of open grazing for a while now. In 2020, he also called for the ban of the transnational movement of cattle.
What is wrong with these governors? Governor Aminu Masari and his counterpart in Zamfara are everywhere granting pardons to bandits and giving them money.
Of course, Nigerians are free to move about. But not at the expense of the lives of others. This archaic practice of moving cattle around is not worth the trouble. Bala Mohammed and his co-thinkers should set up RUGA or cattle colony in his state, and call on herders to migrate there; instead of advocating or justifying the bearing of assault rifles.
Open grazing is an economic decision, not cultural. If ranching will increase the price of beef, so be it. If the policy will make a cow to be sold for N1million Naira, so be it. Enough is enough.
The argument of carrying guns for self-defence is not supported by events of the past couple of years. Herders with AK47 rifles are not using them to fend off cattle rustlers. Instead, they are turning them on innocent civilians, kidnapping, robbing, raping and killing. From Benue to Kaduna to Oyo, gun-wielding herders have left a trail of blood in their wake. So, what is Bala Mohammed talking about?
He is not saying anything important, just the normal audacity of stupidity we are getting used to hearing from our politicians.