Simon Lalong, chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, said on Tuesday that Fulani shepherds alone cannot be blamed for wearing the AK-47, as farmers are guilty of the same crime.
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed drew the ire of Nigerians last week when he said pastors were being forced to carry AK-47s and other firearms in self-defense.
However, speaking on Sunrise Daily, monitored by DAILY INDEPENDENT, Lalong said an investigation by the Forum of Governors of Nigeria also found farmers also carry AK-47s and other firearms for protection.
According to him, when there was a crisis between farmers and herders in Plateau state, both shepherds and farmers were arrested using AK-47s.
He said: “I am not making an excuse for anyone wearing an AK-47, but remember that as part of our discussions and investigations, not only did Fulanis carry an AK-47, but farmers also carried AK-47s.
“Farmers also wear AK-47s because when you talk about it, it’s just spreading weapons instead of driving, and everyone is trying to protect themselves. We must not allow people to help themselves. When they talk about the AK-47, I have not seen that talk about it.
“But at that time there were clashes between farmers and shepherds, we arrested people. The farmers had AK-47s and the shepherds had AK-47s.
“So if you want all of them not to be holding AK-47s, you have to make a dedicated effort to reduce the influx of small arms, and second, also find ways to divert these people away from their old farming practices, and then introduce them into the modern system.
Regarding the decision by some governors to ban outdoor grazing, the governor said it would be difficult to implement unless alternatives were provided.
“First of all, you must provide an alternative. You don’t wake up today and say, “No, you cannot be a poultry.” If you say that you will not make the poultry, those who will cook the poultry will ask, “What alternative are you giving us? This has always been my point of view.
“Open pastures are out of fashion, but what are we doing as an alternative? We need to educate people about modern ways of raising animals and also be empathetic to them before they understand. Otherwise, if you wake up tomorrow and say to ban it, it will be difficult. To be honest, it will be difficult to implement this because not everyone will understand, ”said Lalong.
Source: – Independent ng