The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has charged Southern and Middle Belt Forum leaders, to stop being petty by criminalising the Fulani and alluding every act of criminality to the ethnic group.
The ACF, at a press conference in Kaduna, said the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum should rise above “such pettiness.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim-Biu, who addressed the press conference, after the meeting of its National Working Committee in Kaduna on Wednesday, expressed grave concern over the way Fulani as an ethnic group has been criminanised.
On the southern and Middle Belt leaders, Ibrahiu-Biu said: “The narration that every criminal , armed robber and kidnapper is now a Fulani herdsman because a Fulani man is President, has to stop. Criminals must be regarded as criminals without giving them any form of ethnic or religious coloration.
“The ACF, therefore, calls on PANDEF, Afenifere, Ohaneze, Middle Belt Forum and other similar groups to rise above such pettiness. We must realise that insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and Boko Haram are our common enemies. We must join hands in finding a lasting solution to the menace.”
Ibrahim-Biu also noted with sadness how Nigerians, especially southerners had succeeded in branding suspected criminals in the country as Fulani herdsmen.
“The forum notes with sadness how the negative stereotype associated with the issue of ‘Fulani herdsmen is gradually degenerating into a national crisis.
“We find the assertion that every crime committed in, especially the southern part of the country, as being committed by Fulani herdsmen, irresponsible and deliberately aimed at achieving some certain diabolical objectives.
“The narration that every criminal, armed robber and kidnapper is a Fulani herdsman because a Fulani man is at helm of affairs is a dangerous precedent which has to stop. Criminals must be regarded as criminals without giving them any ethnic, religious or regional coloration.
“We must realise that insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery are our common enemies. We must join hands in finding a lasting solution to the menace.”