From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Foundation for Good Governance and Social Change (FGGSC) on Saturday said remarks made by the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, may compel other Nigerians to resort to self-defence by taking up arms to protect themselves and their property.
The Executive Director of the group, Austin Osakue, said this in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
He said Governor Bala’s statement was unfortunate considering the position he occupies as one of the governors in the federation.
‘We wish to respond to the statement made by the governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, to the effect that herdsmen have the right to own and carry around AK-47 rifles for protection of their cows.
‘The is reckless, provocative, divisive and unbecoming of the status of a governor in a pluralistic society like Nigeria.
‘The statement has the potential of exacerbating the ethnic and religious tension across Nigeria.
‘The statement elevates the status of cows far and above that of Nigerians.
‘The statement opens the floodgates of self-help for Nigerians of other ethnic divides and geographical zones to resort to self-help and arm themselves,’ he said.
Osakue also said it is also very unfortunate that ever since he encouraged the bearing of firearms by the herdsmen all in the name of protecting their cattle against rustlers, which they have allegedly used to kill innocent citizens in some parts of the country, the president, has failed to rebuke him over his comment.
‘That the President Muhammadu Buhari’s federal government has not reprimanded the Bauchi’s governor so far paints a scenario of the voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau,’ he said.
‘How can one ethnic group constitute so much threat to the rest of Nigeria? Who are their backers? Why have repeated calls for ranches fallen on deaf ears?
‘We call on the Buhari’s government to consult the history books. If it does, it will discover that the exact same events which led to the thirty-month Civil War between 1976 and 1970 are playing out now. Those who fail to learn from history will be forced to repeat it,’ he said.