Following the claim by the Federal Government that it would create a radio station to communicate with Fulani herdsmen, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBL) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of running Nigeria like a Fulani colony.
Yhe SMBL, in a statement jointly signed by Yinka Odumakin, Prof Chigozie Ogbu, Senator Bassey Henshaw and Dr Isuwa Dogo, described the move as an indictment on the President Buhari administration.
In a statement titled “Fulani Herdsmen Radio: Is it Fulani Government of Nigeria (FGN) now?” the group said, “The announcement came at a time the Federal Government has been acting as the information arm of the Boko Haram sect and Fulani herdsmen by dissecting the correct interpretation of the groups’ activities as an attempt to Fulanise Nigeria. We totally reject this insensitive decision of the government.”
It noted that setting up of the radio station smacked of hypocrisy and deception by a government that had in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of the Fulani herdsmen for crimes the herdsmen even owned up to.
“There was no mention of Fulani which is not a language most northerners even understand. Why its 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?” the group asked.
It added, “We fear seriously that the proposed radio will become a weapon of spreading hate propaganda against other nationalities in Nigeria given the kid glove’s treatment with which the Buhari administration has handled the killings of thousands of Nigerians in the last four years.
“We recall the genocide-aiding role radio played in inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacre of the Tutsis and the moderate Hutus during the Rwandan genocide.
“From 1993 to late 1994, the RTLM was used by Hutu leaders to send an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tutsi disinformation by identifying specific targets and areas where they 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 the Tutsi and congratulating those who had already taken part.”
Recall that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had in an interview with journalists on Wednesday said the Federal Government had acquired an Amplitude Modulation broadcast radio licence for the herdsmen as part of efforts to end the farmers-herders’ clashes.
He said the radio station will operate on the frequency of 720 KHz and will broadcast in the Fulfulde language, mainly spoken by the Fulani people.
“The radio service will serve as a vehicle for social mobilisation and education, in addition to interactive radio instruction methodology that will be adopted to reach the very hard-to-reach segment of our target population,” Adamu said.