AK-47 comment: Blame Govs causing escalation of herders-farmers clashes – Bala Mohammed
The week which ended 13th of February, 2021, was like most weeks in Nigeria, with interesting, controversial and tragic events.
Though most of the happenings have overtime become a stubborn part of daily lives of Nigerians, some of them, however, stand out as sore points in the nation’s history.
DAILY POST presents a review of some of the events that defined the nation this past week. These include war of words between state chief executives, #OccupyLekkiTollGate, ethnic clash in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, alleged herdsmen invasion of villages in Ogun State and many more.
Ortom Vs Bala Mohammed
Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed on Friday, stunned the nation when he expressly endorsed the carrying of guns by herdsmen in the country despite growing tension over the activities of herdsmen, who have been accused of severe criminal activities that included maiming, killing, kidnapping, raping of hapless women and destruction of farms across the country.
The governor, a former senator and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had told his audience while speaking at a function organised by the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bauchi Council, that moves by Southern governors, particularly Ondo, to eject Fulani herdsmen was wrong.
Mohammed, who further told his audience that “you have seen what our colleagues in the South-West are doing and some of them in South-East. Some of us told them with all modesty and humility – you are wrong”, went ahead to single out Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State for the most blame.
He said: “But the person that is most wrong is the Governor of Benue State, my brother and my colleague, Governor (Samuel) Ortom; he started all these. If you don’t accommodate other tribes, we are also accommodating your people in Bauchi and other places.
“And now, the Fulani man is practising the tradition of trans-human pastoralism. He has been exposed to the dangers of the forests, the animals, and now, the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth, his cows. He had no option than to carry AK-47 and defend himself because the society and the government are not protecting him.”
For Governor Ortom, the Bauchi Governor had gone overboard and must be replied with some facts. This he did without wasting time.
In his response, Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, said the utterances by Mohammed was disappointing, wondering if it was the same oath of office they took to protect the lives and property of the people.
According to the Benue State Governor, Governor Mohammed has taken the lead in violating the constitution of the country, adding that it was shocking that Mohammed would defend Fulani herdsmen carrying AK-47.
He said further: “It was the same Governor Mohammed who once said on national television that a Fulani man is a global citizen, therefore, does not need a visa to come to Nigeria and that the forests belong to herdsmen,” he said.
According to him, Mohammed does not have the details of the havoc Fulani herdsmen are causing all over the country.
Ibadan Ethnic Clash
The fragile nature of peace in the country and deep-seated distrust among the many tribes and ethnic groups that made up Nigeria came to the fore in the course of the week in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The peace of the city was truncated as Yoruba and Hausas in a major market in the Shasha area took on each other in an orgy of violence.
According to reports, trouble started after the death of a Yoruba cobbler said to have been hit with charms by one Hausa cart pusher. The cart pusher, eyewitnesses said, hit a pregnant woman with his cart and the cobbler reprimanded him for that, leading to a scuffle between them. The cobbler, however, died the following morning, allegedly from the charm he was hit with.
The violence that followed, leading to the closure of the market and imposition of curfew by the state government, according to analysts was only a reflection of how fragile peace is in the country and the level of animosity between the various ethnic groups in the country. Unverified reports have it that Hausas are presently moving out of Ibadan, raising fears that people of South-West origin may not be safe in the North in the event of reprisal attacks.
Herdsman attacks in Ogun State
The Yewa area of Ogun State, in the past week was in the news consistently over attacks by herdsmen, who attacked communities in the area, killing and destroying property.
The herdsmen were reported to have invaded Igbooro, Oja-Odan in Yewa North Local Government Area of the state on Friday night, leaving three dead and two villagers injured. The attackers were also said to have razed three houses and some storehouses.
The attack on Igbooro came barely 24 hours after five persons were killed in Owode Ketu, in the same Yewa North LGA.
It would be recalled that some traditional rulers in the area had petitioned the state government, the state police command and Army authorities in Abeokuta, narrating how soldiers accompanied herdsmen to their communities with a threat to deal with them if they do not allow the herdsmen to graze their cattle in the communities.
However, the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland and Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, in a statement on Saturday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Dapo Abiodun to as a matter of urgency stop the attacks or the people of the area will resort to self-help.
The monarch also hinted that there are plans to attack major towns in Yewaland.
The Lekki Toll Plaza became the scene of another ugly development on Saturday, when policemen drafted to the toll plaza swooped on youths who had gathered there to protest the order of the Lagos Judicial Panel investigating the EndSARS shooting on the 20th of October, 2020.
It would be recalled that the plaza served as the major protest ground for the #ENDSARS protesters in October, 2020. However, things turned awry after soldiers were drafted there to enforce the curfew the state government had slammed on the state after hoodlums took advantage of the protests to go on violent rampage.
Though the federal and state governments had warned that no protest would be allowed to hold at the plaza or anywhere else, the youths went ahead to congregate at the plaza, leading to the arrest of about 40 of them, including a popular comedian, Debo Adebayo, popularly known as Mr. Macaroni.
Nigerians were particularly angry with the treatment meted to the arrested protesters, as shown in a viral video. In the video, Mr. Macaroni and others were cramped inside a Lagos commercial bus, popularly called ‘Danfo’ by residents, and stripped.
Speaking of his experience, the comedian said they were stripped and beaten. He also said the policemen said they would have been killed if the protest had taken place in the night.