Youths under the auspices of Coalition of Northern Organisations (CNO), has thrown their weight behind the statement credited to Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, that Fulani herdsmen carry AK47 rifles to protect themselves and their cows against rustlers and bandits.
The coalition said, that the governor only stated the obvious, stressing that the Fulani herdsmen have been exposed to vagaries of cattle rustling, banditry and kidnappings, among others, hence the need for them to protect themselves.
Addressing a press conference at Arewa House, Kaduna, weekend, convener and chairman of the coalition, Idris Umar Goga, described the controversies that greeted the former FCT minister’s comment as needless, adding that he deserved commendation not condemnation.
Goga who was flanked by the national coordinator, Aminu Saleh and other executives of the coalition said, “Many herders have lost their lives while undertaking their legitimate business of cattle rearing.
Any well-meaning Nigerian will not speak against these Nigerians resorting to self-help in protecting themselves in the face of government failure to protect them.
“The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) clearly stipulates in Section 14 (2) (b) that, ‘security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’
“Despite being bona fide Nigerians whose security and welfare are constitutionally guaranteed, the government has done nothing to secure the lives and cattle of the herders. It is in this context that Governor Mohammed made mention of the use of Ak-47 by the herders to protect themselves against attacks.
“The Coalition of Northern Organisation categorically declares our support for the governor on this. To us, the governor never any-where in his speech voiced support for criminal herders in any form whatsoever. Rather, he spoke against the ethnic profiling of the Fulani herders as a bunch of criminals.”