Written by Abiodun Alao
The chairman of the forum of northern governors and the governor of the plateau, Simon Lalong, said on Tuesday that the cattlemen themselves should not be crucified for carrying an AK-47.
Farmers reportedly also carry an AK-47 for self-defense.
Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed infuriated Nigerians last week when he said cattle breeders were forced to carry AK-47s and other self-defense firearms.
Speaking on the television program “Sunrise Daily”, which follows The Nation, Lalong said that the investigation of the forum of the governor of Nigeria also showed that farmers also carry AK-47 and other firearms for protection.
According to him, when the crisis of farmers and cattle breeders took place on the plateau, cattle breeders and farmers were arrested with AK-47s.
He said: “I do not justify anyone carrying an AK-47, but remember the cause of our deliberations and investigations, it was not only the Fulanis who carried the AK-47, but even the farmers carrying the AK-47.
“Farmers also carry AK-47s, because when you talk about them, it’s just the proliferation of weapons with regard to leadership and anyone trying to protect themselves.
“We should not allow people to have self-help. When they talk about the AK-47, I haven’t seen anyone talk about it.
“But at that time there were clashes between farmers and cattle breeders, we arrested people. Farmers held AK-47s, and ranchers also held AK-47s.
“So if you want all of them not to keep AK-47s, you have to deliberately try to suppress the influx of small arms and other things, also find ways to take those people away from the old ways of farming and then introduce them to the modern system. “
On the decision of some governors to ban open grazing, Lalong said that it will be difficult to implement if no alternatives are provided.
“First of all, you have to provide an alternative. Don’t wake up today and say ‘No, you can’t deal with poultry’. If you say you will not deal with poultry, those who ask him ask ‘what alternative do you give us? This has always been my point.
“Open grazing is not in fashion, but what should we do as an alternative?” We must be able to teach people the modern way of animal husbandry and also be sensitive to them before they understand.
“Otherwise, if you just wake up tomorrow and say you forbid it, it will be difficult. To be honest with you, it will be difficult to implement because not everyone will understand, ”Lalong said.