Bala Mohammed Defends Comments on Armed Herders

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has said his comment regarding armed herders using AK-47 for protection was a speech figure.The governor asserted during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily today.
Recall that the governor’s comment on armed herdsmen had long been criticized by his counterparts and Nigerians alike, increasing calls for banning open-grazing.

Mohammed, who was responding to critics regarding the comment, said: “It is a figure of speech to show you the despondence, the desperation and frustration and the agony that this particular person is exposed to by his people, by his tribe and by other tribes who have all seen him as a criminal and therefore, he has the inalienable right to protect himself,” the governor said
“What I said in that context, I was addressing the media people. And the topic was the use of the media to foster national unity, and I was trying to situate the problem,” the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) explained.

“The Fulani man is so exposed, dehumanized because he is being seen as a bandit, and so, anywhere he goes, he is being pursued. Not only in the southwest or the southeast, even in the north because he is in the cattle route, his commonwealth, which I call his cows, are being taken and rustled, and of course, sometimes, they are fined beyond your imagination. If one cow strays into the farm because the cattle route has been taken away illegally without the authority giving permission, he will be fined seriously, mercilessly.

“And so, he is exposed, and then he has no option but to protect himself. We have so many vigilante groups in Nigeria, even at the level of government, sub-regional groups, sub nationals are establishing vigilante groups to make sure that their communities are protected. Why wouldn’t the Fulani man protect himself? And if he carries a gun in order to protect himself, it may not be a legal carriage, it may be legal. He may also register and carry it to protect himself.”

Today’s governor’s comment has triggered a more malicious attack for the governor who was trying to defend himself. See widespread Social Media Reactions to the governor’s statement.

What is your opinion on armed herdsmen, and what is your reaction to Mohammed’s description of AK-47 as a figure of speech?

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