A Fulani herdsman arrested by police in Bauchi State with an AK-47 rifle and a pistol on Wednesday said he was using them to protect himself.
Sadiq Mohammed, who spoke to reporters while being paraded at the Police Headquarters in Bauchi, said the guns were not his.
The father of two said, “I have had these guns for 11 years. I have got them since I was in Plateau State. The man who first bought this gun is dead. He was killed, so I took it.
“I have never killed any person with these guns but I’ve been using them to protect myself and my cows from people who may want to attack me and steal my animals.
“Any time I take my cows to Plateau State, I use the guns to protect myself while moving with them.”
The suspect said he and his colleagues were losing their cows to rustlers, hence he opted for guns to protect himself and his animals.
Mohammed said there had been occasions when he was forced to use the guns to ward off cattle thieves.
He said, “I have had times while rearing my cattle in the bush that people attacked me and I opened fire on them to scare them away, and when they ran away, and I also escaped with my cows.
“I don’t have a licence to own a gun, the real owner was killed while we were rearing our cows some years ago, so I took the gun (AK-47 rifle) and it became mine. I was using it to protect myself.
“I know that carrying a gun without a licence is an offence, but because of the way things are in our place that is why I rear my cows with the gun. So long as I am with my cows, I don’t put my gun away, I am always with it even if I am sleeping. I keep it beside me. I hold it in broad daylight boldly like the police hold their rifles when I am with the cows and nobody has ever stopped me.”