Igbo groups yesterday kicked against the Federal Government pronouncement that it has secured a frequency license to set up a Fulani radio service mainly for the herders.
This came on the heels of the declaration last Sunday by a collection of cultural groups called Ethnic Nationalities Defence Organisation (ENDO) of their resolve to protect, defend and retaliate against Boko Haram and the armed Fulani herdsmen by setting up an armed militant group. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB); Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) and Igbo Bu Igbo Foundation (IBI), in their separate reactions described the move as height of hypocrisy on the part of the Federal Government under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari.
IPOB and MASSOB particularly saw it as the quickest way of actualising Biafra, while ADF and IBI said such a station was huge threat to national security.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who had on Tuesday confirmed the acquisition of the license in Abuja, said the radio service would operate on frequency of 720 KHz and would be strictly broadcasting in the Fulani Language.
Some Nigerians under the aegis of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum also swiftly rejected the announcement by the minister.
The group in a statement by Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South), Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle-Belt) and Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) said it received the news with rude shock at a time the nation was suffering from the militia activities of Fulani herdsmen.
“The announcement came at a time the Federal Government has been acting as the information arm of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen by dissing the correct interpretation of the groups’ activities by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an attempt to “Fulanise” Nigeria,” the group stated.
For IPOB, it was a confirmation of the eventual ‘Fulanisation and Islamisation’ of Nigeria which its leader, Nnamdi Kanu predicated over five years ago; long before Buhari became the president.
IPOB Director of Media and Publicity, Emmanuel Powerful said that the process constituted a clear and present danger to non-Fulani Nigerians, but noted that many innocent lives could have been saved if the likes of Obasanjo, had spoken out before now.
“Had the likes of Obasanjo spoken out earlier when our leader repeatedly warned of what was happening, many innocent victims of Fulani herdsmen would still be alive today, many ethnically cleansed communities in the Middle Belt, would have been sparred also. But in a country where envy is a badge of honour and jealousy a commendable trait, we expect opposition to the divine messages coming from Mazi Nnamdi Kanu about the liberation of not just Biafra, but of all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria which some are still ignorant of,” he said.
Powerful also warned that if Nigerians failed to rise against the Fulani hegemony, those that think they are safe today would soon begin to cry out for help.
According to him, Kanu had on February 6, 2014 ‘prophesied’ that “Fulani herdsmen will be armed and encouraged to slaughter us with impunity and their masters will protect them. They are coming to ensure that people are enslaved forever, those who don’t believe me will soon see it happen before their eyes. They are coming to elevate Hausa-Fulani supremacy to reposition the security agencies by sacking all competent hands and replace them with their Fulani Herdsmen to drive their ethnic domination of Biafrans and other tribes in Nigeria.”
He noted that the combination of N100 billion to Miyetti Allah (Fulani herdsmen), Federal Government floating of a dedicated radio station for Fulani, was the beginning of the opening of the floodgates of hell in the country.
But he, however, said that IPOB was not perturbed by whatever actions the government and Fulani herdsmen did with the radio station as they were determined to actualise the independent state of Biafra.
“Our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu warned about their coming and connection to ISIS nobody listened to him. When he was crying and lamenting that people will die, our daughters abducted, our mothers raped, nobody paid any attention, he was dismissed as an attention seeking mad man. Today, what is happening; we ask?” he queried.
The ADF also expressed worry about the sequence of events, which tends to confirm that the Fulani herdsmen have become instruments in the hands of the Federal Government. For Chairman of ADF’s Media and Publicity Committee, Chief Abia Onyike said: “Providing them with a radio station now, in the face of the dangers they pose to Christians and other ethnic nationalities all over Nigeria and especially in the Middle Belt, Kaduna, Benue and Mambilla Plateau, goes to confirm that the deadly group is being shielded or indeed pampered by the authorities.”
Onyike, therefore, urged the president to speak up on these allegations because the palpable fear in the land was indicative that the security of the nation is greatly under threat.
Also, the Igbo Bu Igbo observed that Fulani herdsmen were known to be the fourth terror group going by Global Terror Index; hence the move is surreptitious, meaning the intension may be less than noble.
IBI Chancellor, Dr Law Mefor told Sunday Sun, yesterday that with an AM radio station, the Fulani herdsmen can now reach even beyond Nigeria, to West Africa, and coordinate their activities through the medium.
“This has not happened anywhere in the world and the implications can only be imagined. Since the Fulani also understand and speak Hausa, why should the station be run exclusively in Fulde and not in Hausa, and yet funded by tax payers? It is not in good faith.
“I am not a fan of Obasanjo who, of course, was one of those who brought this government upon us, but his accusation of Fulanisation of Nigeria is adding up and making sense with such FG policies and decisions. It is a hallmark of impunity.
“Men and women of goodwill, and all who wish Nigeria well should rise now and stop this dance of the absurd,” Mefor said.
Unlike others who knocked the government, MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu instead applauded the president for further displaying his true colour as a real fundamentalist who upholds and promotes his tribal and religious interest as paramount.
According to MASSOB, Buhari as President of Nigeria was for the good of other regions because it will continue to open and reawaken the consciousness of the people of the Niger Delta, Middle Belt, Oduduwa and Igbo for them to rise in defence of their future existence.
Madu, therefore, urged other ethnic nationalities to establish their tribal radio broadcasting services.
“The Yoruba, Ijaw, Igbo, Bini, Itshekiri, Idoma, Tiv, Igala, Hausa, Middle Beltans and Niger Delta ethnic nationalities should immediately establish their tribal radio broadcasting services for their people. No oppressor or religious fundamentalist will ever listen to voice of reasoning or consider the people’s protests,” Madu said.