Governor Simon Lalong
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has stated that farmers also carry AK47 so herdsmen should not be judged alone for carrying arms and ammunition for self-defense.
Lalong in an interview with Channels TV on Tuesday February 23 said this while reacting to the backlash his counterpart in Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed, received after he said herdsmen are compelled to carry AK47 and other firearms for self-defense as the state and Federal government have failed to protect them.
While speaking in the interview this morning, Governor Lalong said an investigation by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum also showed that farmers also carry AK-47 and other firearms for protection.
“I am not justifying anybody carrying AK47 but don’t forget in the cause of our deliberations and investigations, it was not only Fulanis that were carrying AK-47 but even farmers are also carrying AK47.
Farmers are also carrying AK47 because when you talk about them, it is just a proliferation of arms with respect to guiding and everybody trying to protect himself.
We shouldn’t allow people to have self-help. When they talk about AK47, I have not seen anybody talk about that.
But at the time there were farmers-herdsmen clashes here, we arrested people. Farmers were holding AK47 and the herdsmen were also holding AK47.
So, if you want all of them not to hold AK-47, you must put deliberate efforts towards curtailing the influx of light arms and secondly, to also find ways of taking these people away from their old ways of farming and then introduce them into the modern system.”
On the decision by some Governors to ban open grazing, Lalong said it will be difficult to implement if alternatives are not provided.
“First of all, you must provide an alternative. You don’t wake up today and say ‘No, you can’t do poultry’. If you say you are not going to do poultry, those into it will ask ‘what alternative are you giving us? This has always been my point.
Open grazing is out of fashion but what do we do as an alternative? We must be able to teach people the modern way of animal husbandry and also sensitive to them before they understand.
Otherwise, if you just wake up tomorrow and say you ban it, it will be difficult. To be honest with you, it will be difficult to implement because not everybody will understand'' he said.