The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Friday, February 12, criticised the statement made by his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, which supports the free movement of herders with AK-47 rifles.
1st News had reported that Mohammed revealed that herders use the weapons to protect themselves from the dangers in the forest and also from cattle rustlers.
However, in a statement issued via his spokesman, Terver Akase, Ortom wondered which law Mohammed cited to support his stance.
The statement said, “Governor Ortom wonders which section of the law the Bauchi State Governor cited to support herdsmen’s free movement around the country with sophisticated weapons.
“He recalls that it was the same Governor Mohammed who once said on national television that a Fulani man is a global citizen; and, therefore, does not need a visa to come to Nigeria and that the forests belong to herdsmen.
“Governor Ortom wonders if his friend and colleague in Bauchi State know a thing or two; about the horrendous activities of herders in parts of the country to warrant the emotional defence; and justification that he has repeatedly put forward in their favour.
“The Governor finds it unfortunate that those who are trusted with the people’s mandate; and should ordinarily uphold truth and justice have chosen to mislead the country.
“He stresses the need for leaders to be cautious; and retrace their steps which are capable of leading the country to anarchy.”
Meanwhile, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Thursday, February 11, warned Fulani herdsmen; not to take undue advantage of the Igbo character of hospitality; as well as friendly acceptance of others in Igboland.
According to them, the herders must desist from engaging in actions; behaviours; and attitudes inimical to the culture and wellbeing of Ndigbo.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Ohanaeze spokesman, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, that it viewed such a statement as reprehensible and highly unacceptable.
It noted that freedom of movement guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution for all citizens: did not include; and would never include the right to destroy, desecrate or violate the laws and cultures of any part of the country.
It also does not include forceful entry into other peoples’ farmland with impunity; and disregard for the peoples’ customs and traditions over land, according to Ohanaeze.
The body gave the warning while reacting to rumours that a group had ordered non-Igbo to quit Igboland; describing the said notice as fake and not representing the position of the Igbo.