We are concerned that the criminalisation and the negative profiling of an ethnic group as bandits and kidnappers by both the conventional and social media has now taken a dangerous dimension. Incendiary speeches criminalising the Fulani by some political and religious leaders, and inciting articles by a section of the Nigerian press, have assumed dangerous dimensions.
We the undersigned are appalled by the current happenings across the country, especially as it relates to the deliberately engineered ethnic disharmony currently going on in the southern states. As Nigerians, we must always be ready to resist the profiling of any group as evil or the sole source of any crisis. The ongoing profiling of the Fulani and the Hausa as the causal factors of the current challenges facing the country must be condemned by all. The words and action of certain individuals and a section of the media, foisting criminality to a particular ethnic group, is a serious threat to national cohesion. In spite of the current propaganda, emerging evidence is clearly showing that kidnapping and banditry are neither restricted to one particular ethnic group or one region in Nigeria. Ritual killings, armed robbery and kidnappings for ransom have become an equal opportunity activity for all sections of the country and as they are being arrested and prosecuted around the country, still the profiling of groups is limited to Northerners.
While we commend attempts by some national leaders to douse rising tensions, the silence of the Federal Government whose constitutional role it is to protect lives and property, is worrisome. We are concerned that the criminalisation and the negative profiling of an ethnic group as bandits and kidnappers by both the conventional and social media has now taken a dangerous dimension. Incendiary speeches criminalising the Fulani by some political and religious leaders, and inciting articles by a section of the Nigerian press, have assumed dangerous dimensions. They have radicalised and transformed youths, not only into eviction mobs but also killing machines. Quit notices and violent attacks by irate youths upon the expiry of eviction dates have become common.
History has clearly shown that ethnic and religious profiling have grave consequences for the stability of a nation. They breed intolerance and fanatical hatred, as typified by in break-up of India, where millions of lives were lost as it disintegrated, and in Rwanda of recent, where one million people, mainly Tutsi, were murdered in cold blood due to the bigotry of some power-hungry politicians, who are oblivious of global trends. We shudder at the thought that the killings of Northerners in the South are calculated to incite retaliation in the North, thereby plunging the country into needless bloody conflagration.
We appeal to the Federal Government to guarantee the lives, safety and property of law-abiding citizens across the country. We also call on our compatriots across the country to condemn, in no uncertain terms, the wanton destruction of lives and property and the untenable ultimatum demanding that fellow citizens relocate. This is unacceptable.
We equally appeal to all citizens in Nigeria to live in peace and harmony with one another as destiny has created a joint path for us towards prosperity, which can only be attained under a peaceful and stable polity. The solution to violence and criminality is to prosecute the persons involved, not to rope in their entire community.
Alh. Bashir Othman Tofa
Amb. Fatimah Balla
Alh. Sule Yahaya Hamma
Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed
Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim
Mallam Bilya Bala
Dr. Usman Bugaje
Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim
Hon. Sani Zorro
Commodore Naibaida (Rtd)
Professor Mustapha Gwadabe
Professor Idris’s Sha’aban Jimada
Professor Omar Massoud
Professor Abdulkadir Adamu
Mallam Kabir Danladi
Mallam Isa Modibbo
Engineer Hassan Hussaini
Mallam Murtala Abubakar
Mallam Aminu Musa
Muhammad Kabir Abubakar
Nasir Mohammed Abubakar
Sunny S. Moniedafe
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