Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Monday accused his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, of being a terrorist based on his utterances which support herdsmen carrying AK-47 to defend themselves.
Governor Ortom who made this accusation while addressing journalists in Makurdi, Benue State capital said Governor Mohammed must be a terrorist for supporting illegal arms-wielding by foreign herdsmen.
“I wouldn’t want to be joining issues with my brother, friend, and colleague Bauchi Governor. But since he has continued to vilify, intimidate and blackmail me; it is said that silence is consent; I am therefore compelled to respond to him.
“I am beginning to think that my brother, the governor of Bauchi State is part of the terrorist Fulani organisation that is terrorising this country.
“Why do I say this? This is the same governor who took the oath of office to protect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This constitution does not leave room for allowing foreign herdsmen to come in without valid papers.
“This is a man who says that a Fulani man is a global man and can come in from anywhere and enter Nigeria. It is quite disappointing to hear a governor who took the oath of office …maybe he should go back and check the oath of office he took to check maybe the constitution gives room for foreign terrorist Fulani herdsmen to come into Nigeria,” Ortom said.
He also reacted to Governor Mohammed’s statement which says herders can carry AK-47 to defend themselves noting that “his recent outburst that Fulani herdsmen are justified for carrying AK-47 to protect themselves. I don’t know where the constitution of this country allows that.”
The Benue Governor therefore called on Governor Mohammed to render an unreserved apology and learn from the provisions of the constitution that, land both territorial, forest, and aquatic, are vested on the governor of a state who holds them in trust, instead of indulging in inciting Fulani herdsmen against innocent Nigerians.
AK-47 A Figure Of Speech?
Governor Bala Mohammed last week Friday defended his comment about armed herders, explaining that he used AK-47 as a figure of speech for protection.
“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 own people, by his own 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 had said.
A flurry of condemnation
Governor Bala Mohammed’s comment on armed herdsmen had earlier triggered a wave of condemnation from his counterparts and Nigerians alike, increasing calls for the prohibition of open-grazing.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and his Ondo counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, were quick to knock the Bauchi governor’s statement. Akeredolu had described it as uncalled for, arguing that it could further escalate tensions in the West African nation.
“For what purpose?
Bala Mohammed has even poured more petrol into the fire because his speech is unexpected of him. It will become very serious and nobody will be spared,” Akeredolu, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), noted.