Since a fortnight ago, the future security and unity of Nigeria have been jeopardized by some State Governors as a result of firearms-bearing Fulani nomadic herdsmen. While some Governors ban and unrestricted their grazing in their States, some declare their freedom to bear firearms and pastor their herds in any State they want. Presently, the irascibility of the illegal firearms herdsmen and the disastrous munching of farmers’ crops by their herds are national questio disputata. I strong condemn the stands of the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed and the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, whose stands not only jeopardize the security of non-arms bearing Nigerians but assuming Nigerian Presidency, they declared criminal arms-bearing legal and condemning as illegal the IPOB which bears no arms and has killed nobody, but does the UNO recognized agitation for the independence of its State that is federated in Nigeria that discriminates Igbos.
If the IPOB which are not carrying guns, neither kill people nor are violent, were proscribed, but the Fulani nomadic herdsmen who are killing and maiming people, are being supported by the Federal Government and the Bauchi State Governor, it means that the Southeast zone is being maltreated, and that there are underground plans to undo the Southeast. Because from the Bauchi State Governor’s speech, it shows that the criminal firearms-bearing Fulani herdsmen are permitted to carry prohibited firearms, and by the words of the Federal Minister of Information, their incessant killings of innocent Nigerians is ordinary normal criminality.
I want to draw home the fact that the IPOB does not carry guns but they were proscribed, and the Fulani herdsmen and the Myeatti Allah security network that carry guns and are confirmed by the Nigerian Police Force to be responsible for massive killings of innocent Nigerians in the North have not been proscribed. It means that the federal government should revisit the issue of proscribing IPOB and thereby apologize to the group and devise means of solving the problems of the Nigerian nation.
I wonder how with his height of exposure and national politics, Alhaji Lai Mohammed can only differentiate crimes against the sovereignty of a nation-state and criminality, without knowing that the United Nations Organization made agitation for independence of a federated unity a legal fundamental right of the component unit. He fails to understand that IPOB makes peaceful agitation for the Sovereign State of Biafra, which was and ceased to be an independent nation for the unity of Nigeria, which since after the reunion, Igbos have remained marginalized. Lai Mohammed knows everything except the reality of cause and effects. The IPOB agitates because Igbos are over marginalized. I heard Nnamdi Kalu once say that if the issue of the marginalization does not take place against Igboland, nobody would have been struggling for the independence of the Biafran nation, and all would be for one Nigeria.
Let Igbos have their due rights and accommodation like the Hausa, Fulani and Yoruba, and see if IPOB agitation would not stop. Has IPOB not listed the vexations of the group, which the Federal Government has not deemed it fit to see to the ratification of the problems of one of its major ethnic groups? IPOB does not carry guns and they are proscribed, but the Fulani herdsmen carry AK-47 guns and shot innocent citizens and they are not proscribed. Let us not forget in a hurry that in the Global Terrorist index, Nigerian Fulani militants was named the fourth deadliest terror group in the world. Oh yea, we clap and celebrate them because they are killing people that are supposed to be completely eliminated from the surface of the earth. I have no apologies, Fulani herdsmen crying guns are terrorists and bandits.
It is disheartening that Gov. Bala Mohammed sponsors Fulani herdsmen to carry firearms, which stories of their murderous raids on innocent citizens across the country and most especially in the Southern Nigeria have been sporadic. Yes, and I mean it, he may be one of the sponsors the arms-bearing Fulani herdsmen and their criminal activities across the country. How? A sponsor amongst other significances is a person who supports or organizes an activity or vouches for the acceptability of another or activity. This sponsorship could be material or morale, though his body-language tends to insinuate both. Though he later claimed that he was quoted out of context, but that was after thought expression.
Firearms bearing have not been legalized in Nigeria, and for a Governor and Chief-Security Officer of a State to grandiloquently insist that Fulani herdsmen, who are untrained in the ethics and use of firearms, have no other alternative than to carry firearms because of alleged insecurity they encounter in the course of herding, is acoustic nonsense. Has Gov Bala Mohammed thought of how many Nigerians that have been massacred in most part of Nigeria and why the Federal Government has not legalized firearms bearing for self-defense in the zone? Since the inception of Boko Haram insurgence in the Northern Nigeria, the number of humans killed there outnumbers the number of cows collectively reared in Nigeria by the entire Fulani herdsmen who carry firearms for security that culminates in further loss of human lives and crops. What holds the Federal Government not legalizing firearms for self-defense for the local populace in the Boko Haram maimed States? But Bala Mohammed and Minister Lai Mohammed assuming Federal Government, declared arms-bearing for self-defense legal for herdsmen and unwarranted for proscription, and have said nothing about the self-defense of innocent citizens killed en mass and in their millions in the North for close to two decades now.
I do not deny the fact that there are cattle rustlers. Certainly, cattle rustling are a reality and peculiar crime in the Northern Nigeria, but such crimes are inexistent in the Southern Nigeria. Conversely, it is the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle that rustle farm crops and murder the owners of the farms with their illegal firearms when reproached. Every peculiar crime has peculiar means of its policing and solution. That is the essence of cultural criminology. This needs to be the point of all and interest for Gov Bala Mohammed.
Since cattle rustling are peculiar in the North, let Bala Mohammed legalize arms-bearing in his State and sponsor it in the North and not make it a national issue. Every State in Nigeria has its resource-control, and the forests are essential parts of its resources. Gov Bala Mohammed cannot stay in his State and order nomadic arms-bearing Fulani herdsmen to enter the forests in the Southern or Southwestern State, where the herdsmen fear entering real forest but graze on people’s farmlands, crunching farm crops and ruining expected farms yields and produce.
Forest reserve of any State is a particular property of the State, and Gov Bala Mohammed needs to understand that cattle rearing are an individual man’s capitalist business and not a federal venture. Perhaps he is a stakeholder of industrial animal farming, but should know that in America, Europe and Asia, capitalist of herds business do not graze animals openly or assign firearms to the administrators of their herds. At least, Bala Mohammed travels outside Nigeria. To this effect, a private business venture has no legal backing not to be quitted from a State government’s property or where its presence and operation causes nuisance and jeopardizes the lives and properties of the citizens.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Gov Bala Mohammed’s statements are meant to mislead the country into anarchy. It supports proliferation of firearms that worsens security of life and properties. A State Governor is the Chief Security Officer of his State, but Gov Mohammed claims ignorant of the Nigerian Firearms Act of 1990, which declares that nobody shall “have in his possession or under his control any firearm or ammunition except such person has a license from the President or from the Inspector-General of Police.” Thus, for Gov Mohammed to grandiloquently state that the AK-47-bearing herdsmen are forced to do so because the government has failed to secure their lives and livelihood and as such they need AK-47 rifles to defend themselves from cattle rustlers and other challenges encountered on the road, is inciting anarchy in Nigeria as self-defense is a national instinct in all men.
Governor Bala Mohammed, who urges Nigerians to accommodate other tribes, needs to understand that nobody condemns or ostracizes the Fulani in local communities in the southern Nigeria. There are Fulani business men and women living for ages in other tribes, especially in the Southeast and have been part of the local populace. The category of Fulanis that are sanctioned are the Fulani nomadic herdsmen who not only force their herds into farmers’ crops to graze but bear firearms which are shot at any slightest reproach by local farmers whose crops are crunched by the herds.
It is disheartening that barely a day after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) reached a consensus to end open grazing in the country, Gov Bala Mohammed attacked the decision of the governors, especially the steps of Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue State where herdsmen have maimed the local farmers and dwellers.
Why should IPOB be proscribed and the Eastern Security Network declared outlaws? There are so many security challenges facing Nigeria in each of the tribes or geopolitical zones of the country. As a result of all the security challenges, some ethnic groups in the Country decided to come up with their own Security Agencies. The Southwest came up with Amotekun and the Federal Government had no problems with it, and the Southeast came up with Eastern Security Network and the Federal Government refused to recognize it, and thus declared it outlaw. This is too bad!
This attitude ought to stop and the needful has to be done. Gov Bala Mohammed has to withdraw his statement and apologize to the nation for his radicalism and inciting statements for anarchy. He needs to do this not only in national dailies but in national televisions, and the issue of IPOB has to be redressed.