Fulani radio: SMBLF empresses shock, charges FG to perish the thought

Says FG's decision insensitive

SOUTHERN and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) said on Thursday that it received with shock the announcement of the plan by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to set up an AM radio station for Fulani herdsmen to broadcast in Fulfude, declaring it’s total opposition to the establishment.

This was just as the leaders urged the Federal Government to perish the thought of establishing and sponsoring such Fulani radio if it cared in any form about the corporate existence of the Nigerian nation.

SMBLF said this in release titled: “Fulani Herdsmen Radio: Is it Fulani Government of Nigeria (FGN) now?” and signed by Yinka Odumakin for South-West, Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South- East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle- Belt), copy of which was made available to newsmen in Lagos.

The leaders, while saying that the announcement came at a time the Federal Government had been acting as the information arm of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen by dismissing the correct interpretation of the groups’ activities as an attempt to “Fulanise” Nigeria, described the Federal Government’s decision as insensitive.

According to SMBLF, it is rejecting such decision because “it smacks of hypocrisy and deception for a government that has in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of the Fulani herdsmen for crimes they even owned up to, to now tell us it wants to set up a radio for them to address the same issues.”

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Other ground cited for its rejection, according to SMBLF was that section of the 1999 Constitution recognises only four languages, namely: English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo in which the official business of the National Assembly can be conducted, asserting that there was no mention of Fulani which it said was not a language most northerners even understood.

“Why it’s sudden promotion to a language the Federal Government will set up a radio to promote? Will it also set up radio stations for the officially recognised languages and the over 250 languages spoken in different parts of Nigeria?” it queried.

SMBLF said it feared seriously that the proposed radio would become a weapon of spreading hate propaganda against other nationalities in Nigeria given the kid gloves treatment with which the Buhari administration had handled the killings of thousands of Nigerians in the last four years.

The leaders in coming to the conclusion, they were guided by the genocide-aiding role radio played in inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan Genocide, recalling that both Radio Rwanda and RTLM from 1993 to late 1994 were used by Hutu leaders to disseminate an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tusti disinformation by identifying specific targets and areas where the Tusti could be found and encouraging progress of the genocide.

“In 1994, Rwanda Radio began to advance the same message by issuing directives on where to kill Tutsis and congratulating those who had already taken part,” the release said.

“Using the instrumentality of the Federal Government to set up a radio for Fulani herdsmen will throw a knife at the tiniest of the threads still holding Nigeria together as all illusions of an inclusive country would be removed and the rest of the country would conclude we are now under Fulani government of Nigeria,” the leaders warned.

SMBLF, therefore, demanded that the Federal Government should perish the thought of a Fulani radio sponsored by the government if it cared in any form about the corporate existence of the country.

“We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government should perish the thought of a Fulani radio sponsored by the government if it cares in any form about the corporate existence of the country,” the leaders further warned.

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