Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has said Nigerians don’t need the permission of any governor to reside anywhere in the country.
According to Mohammed, citizens don’t need the permission of his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, to live in the forests in the state.
Akeredolu had last month issued a seven-day quit notice to Fulani herdsmen operating illegally in the state’s forest reserves.
Apart from ejecting the herdsmen, the governor also banned underage grazing, night grazing, and movement of cattle within the cities and on highways.
The issue generated an uproar and after a meeting with different stakeholders, Akeredolu asked herdsmen to register with the government so that they can operate unhindered in the forest reserves.
Speaking on Friday on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme, Mohammed said, “Land is in the hands of the state and federal governments in trust but Nigerians don’t need the permission of governors or the federal government to settle everywhere. You don’t need the permission of the governor of Bauchi or the governor of Ondo to be in the forests of Ondo if you choose to live in the forests because under Section 41 of the constitution, you are free to settle anywhere.”
Akeredolu had earlier criticised Mohammed for defending the use of arms by herders after the governor said herders carry weapons because they need to protect themselves.
Describing the comments as careless and despicable, the Ondo State governor said his colleague had encouraged all other Nigerians to carry arms.
“We read with dismay, the outburst in the purported statement by the Bauchi State governor. We are persuaded to believe he didn’t make that statement,” a statement released by Donald Ojogo, the immediate past Commissioner for Information and Orientation, read.
“If indeed he made that statement and owns up to its contents, it then means that the Bauchi State governor has declared on behalf of the federal government, an executive order which now allows all Nigerians, herdsmen inclusive, to carry prohibited firearms like assault rifles for self-defence.
“That is exactly what the governor has done and displayed by his conduct which brazenly depicts that whether other Nigerians like it or not, herdsmen must carry AK 47 for self-defence while other non-Fulani herdsmen must remain unarmed to be perpetual victims of arms-wielding bandits.
“By that statement, the governor has in one breath, agreed that indeed Fulani herdsmen carry AK 47 and at the same time encouraged all to do likewise.
“The Bauchi governor has by his conduct and attitude, ushered us into the next level on the path to anarchy. He’s not fit for public office, persons of such impecunious disposition and character are not fit for public office.
”As long as Nigeria’s consideration remains unchanged, it is still unlawful for any unauthorised persons to carry prohibited arms. The statement is most despicable, highly recommended for the dust bin of careless talks.”