The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has appealed to Fulani herders not to carry Ak-47 riffles but remain peaceful.
The governor who made the plea at the inauguration of the 2020/2021 annual livestock vaccination campaign held at the Galambi Cattle Ranch, Bauchi, on Wednesday, described the Fulani people as humble, simple and humane despite that they have been lampooned and subjected to caricature.
He said: “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.
“Through time and history, you have been seen to be cajoled, lampooned and subjected to caricature but you remained humane, you remained simple, you don’t show so much aggression and of course, that humility is always what we recognise and this is what a character that should always try to show.
“Please, don’t carry the AK-47 that I made a figurative allusion to. Try to make sure that you remain peaceful.”
The governor who said that he had no apology for kicking against the profiling of Fulani herders as criminals pointed out that what he said was the truth that there was no tribe that is free from criminality.
He said that his administration was aware of the activities of Miyetti Allah and other Fulani organisations in promoting peaceful coexistence in the state, promoting the well-being of the pastoralists, wealth creation and conflict mediation especially in the state and the nation in general.
He said, “That brings me to the issue of the Fulani which we kicked against and we have no apology for what we have done, but what we have done, is to say the truth. There is no tribe that is free from criminality and we are not saying that to spite anybody or to spark any unnecessary controversy.
“We have made the point, 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.
“I will therefore, need not mention anything about this matter for fear that there will be controversy or it will be escalated and I will listen to the voices of reason and keep quiet about it.”
He, however, called on the Fulani to shun criminality and expose the bad eggs in their midst admonishing them that since he tried to protect them that they must do away with criminal tendencies.
“I must call on our brothers, the Fulani, to make sure that they make their activities free of criminality. They must make sure that they fish out the bad eggs among them because criminality is criminality.
“Inasmuch as we try to protect them and show Nigerians that they cannot be profiled badly, they should also make efforts to show that a majority of them are good citizens and they are contributing positively to the growth and development of Nigeria because our protein needs in the country will not have been met without the sacrifices that they are making,” he stated.
According to him, despite the many sacrifices that the Fulani are making in their own nomadic and pastoral lives, the government hardly provides them schools, health facilities, roads stressing that even their right of way has been taken.
“That is why we’ve set up a committee in Bauchi State and very soon, we’re going to implement the recommendations of that committee in a manner that we will free resources that belong to the pastoralists. They must have their own right of way so that we will reduce the conflicts between the Fulani and the farmers because they are the ones that provide our sustenance on a daily basis.
“I must call on our traditional institutions, our local authorities, forest officers, to make sure that they heed the warning that we have given earlier so that they can stop the encroachment that is causing a lot of conflicts,” he warned.