The Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has expressed disappointment over Fulani herders’ negative judgment in the country. He blasted his counterpart, Governor Samuel Ortom, over what he described as ‘lack of foresight’ in handling herders and farmers’ issues.
Mohammed was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Correspondents’ Chapel Week organised by Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bauchi State council, with the theme “The role of the Media in Promoting Peace and Unity in Nigeria”.
The governor who lamented on the treatment of herdsmen in the country said some governors of the southern states and the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom are making controversial utterances and enacting policies which will distort public peace. He noted that the Fulani pastorates are being accused as most of them have become victims of cattle rustlers.
According to him: “Unconstructive criticisms bring a lot of hatred and sometimes we are quick to go to press on issues that are dividing us. I will tell you Something that I say to my colleagues about the farmers-herders clashes in Nigeria: He (Governor Ortom) started all these.
“If you don’t accommodate other tribes, there will be challenges because we also accommodate other tribes in Bauchi and other places. We have many Tiv people farming in Alkaleri, Tafawa Balewa, and Bogoro in Bauchi State. Has anybody told them to go? No, because they have inalienable rights to be here.
“We have people living in Bauchi for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria. Nobody is talking to them to go, and some of them have risen to become Permanent Secretaries in governments of Bauchi, Borno, and so on.”
“You have seen what our colleagues in the southwest and southeastern states are doing. We have told them with all modesty that they are wrong. But the person that is most wrong is my brother and colleague Governor of Benue State, Governor Ortom,” he said.
The governor noted that their experiences with cattle rustlers had left most of them with ‘no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting him’.
“Something that is so bad and can destroy us, Something that is threatening the peace and unity of the country, we must not toy with it. In this regard, I must commend the Governor of Plateau State, Governor Simon Lanlong, for promoting the peace of the country.
“Despite Lalong’s minority’s background, he is leading the northern governor’s forum, Lalong is focused and unity driven. We need people like Lalong because the fights between herders and farmers in Plateau State have stopped because of justice and equity, because of patriotism and community engagement, and fostering understanding between the diverse ethnic groups and that is what we are doing in Bauchi. Everybody is important, and so the media must make sure they promote unity and peace of the country,” he added.