The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said that it is a dangerous development to criminalise all Fulanis living in any part of the country on the account of few criminal ones among them.
The forum noted that it was the responsibility of government through security agencies to fish out criminals amongst Fulani herdsmen and not the duty of ethnic champions to usurp the function of the government.
“There are decent hardworking Fulani who are not criminals in this country and those people must be protected. This idea that all Fulani are criminal is a very dangerous development. It criminalises an entire ethnic group, puts millions of Nigerians under threat,” said Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF spokesperson on Tuesday night while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme.
“It creates an image of reality which is not true and it also puts other ethnic groups in danger because all you need to do is to identify a particular crime with an ethnic group. If we begin to demonise people and profile an ethnic group and we link them up with a crime, this is dangerous.
“Yes, there is some infiltration among the Fulani, we accept that. We also believe that it is the responsibility of the state to identify that infiltration; it is not up to any ethnic champion or anybody. People cannot assume responsibilities for the state. It is the Nigerian state that should fish out and determine criminals whether Fulani or whatever.”
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He added that “if people start usurping the responsibilities of the Nigerian state, chasing people and burning down their homes, their cattle, killing them, harassing them, that is not acceptable.”
The statement is coming after weeks of tension in the South-West region of the country, over a one-week quit notice by Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, to Fulani herdsmen in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.