Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed says his use of AK-47 as weapon herdsmen should carry about for protection is a figure of speech.
Speaking on Friday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mohammed said he had not changed his opinion after he came under backlash for saying herdsmen were right to carry assault rifles due to the nature of their work which exposes them to danger.
“The Fulani man is so exposed, dehumanised, because he is being seen as a bandit and so anywhere he goes, his commonwealth that is his cows are rustled and sometimes they are fined beyond your imagination. They are taken away illegally and then he has no option but to protect himself,” the governor said.
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“We have so many vigilante groups in Nigeria even at the level of government. Sub-nationals are establishing vigilante groups in order to protect themselves. It may not be legal or he (herdsman) may also register to carry (guns) to protect himself. But it’s a figure of speech to show you the despondency and desperation.”
Pressed for more comments on the matter, he said: “When we mention AK-47, it’s a figure of speech. The issue is protection. Because of the exposure, I said these people have no option but to protect themselves.”
The south-west region is witnessing a wave of activism against herdsmen and their activities. Some of the herders have been accused of perpetrating crimes in the guise of cattle grazing.