The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Revd. Matthew Kukah, has condemned the ‘demonization’ of the Fulanis, following the recent murder of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti.
Speaking on Tuesday at a colloquium on fake news and hate speech organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, an arm of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja, Bishop Kukah warned that hate speech often preceded any genocide experienced in history.
He also likened the profiling of the Fulani to what happened to the Igbos leading up to the Nigerian civil war between 1967 and 1970.
“If it is Fulani today, yesterday it was the Igbos,” he said. On the controvery of having Fulani herdsmen on the Nigerian passport, he questioned why the focus is on the tribe when there are others.
“When I look at my passport, it has the coat of arm and map of Nigeria. Then right in front of the data page where all my information is, I have the Bini. I am not a Bini man, but I am eminently proud of this. .
I didn’t even know it was here, because I had to go through the passport page by page. When I opened the passport the first thing I saw was Zuma Rock, then I see Tiv dancers. Who gave them permission to put Tiv dancers? .
Then I got to next page, before I came to this poor Fulani man who is standing with his cows. Suddenly, this is the only thing we have chosen. Why is it exciting? .
It is exciting because this is the time for us to ‘hate’, literally tag every Fulani as a herdsman. We are on a very dangerous precipice,” he said.
Urging Nigerians to be their brother’s keeper, Bishop Kukah also asked those in leadership position to stand up and tell where the country is going.