Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, has criticised Bala Mohammed, his Bauchi state counterpart, for defending the use of arms by herders.
On Thursday, Mohammed said herders carry weapons because they need to protect themselves.
Describing the comments as careless and despicable, Akeredolu said his governor colleague has 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 Ondo state 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 encouraging 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 is 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.”
In January, Akeredolu ordered herders to vacate Ondo forest reserves, saying “bad elements” had turned the forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.