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Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum warn FG on Fulani Radio

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Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum warn FG on Fulani Radio

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, yesterday, tackled the Federal Government over the plan to establish a radio station for Fulani herdsmen to broadcast in Fulfude. The Forum said the radio station was part of the grand plan to Fulanise Nigeria as alleged by former President Olisegun Obasanjo and attested to by Prof Wole Soyinka. The Forum also alleged that the radio station might be used to spread hate speech against other ethnic groups in the country.

The Forum, consisting of eminent Southern Leaders asked the Federal Government to perish the thought of establishing radio station for a single tribe out of 250 ethnic nationalities in the country. The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had confirmed the acquisition of the licence in Abuja, on Tuesday that the radio service would operate on frequency of 720KHz, and would be strictly on Fulani language.

He disclosed that plans were underway to secure funds for procurement and installation of requisite transmission equipment for the successful take-off of the radio station. He added that the station was part of the peacebuilding efforts of the government in addressing herders-farmers’ clashes. Similarly, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), Prof. Bashir Usman, explained that some veteran Hausa broadcasters have been contacted to develop programmes for the station. However, the Southern and Middle Belt Forum said the announcement came at a time the Federal Government has been acting as the information arm of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen by dish ing the correct interpretation of the group’s activities by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an attempt to “Fulanise ” Nigeria.

In a statement by Yinka Odumakin (South West); Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South East); Senator Bassey Henahaw (South South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the Forum rejected the decision of the government on the Fulani radio. According to the group, “the decision 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.” The Forum said: “Section 55 of the 1999 Constitution recognises English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo as Languages in which the official business of the National Assembly can be conducted.

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? “We fear seriously that the proposed radio will become a weapon of spreading hate propaganda against other nationalities in Nigeria, given the kid gloves treatment with which the Buhari administration has handled the killings of thousands of Nigerians in the last four years.

“We are 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. From 1993 to late 1994, RTLM was used by Hutu leaders to propagate an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tusti disinformation by identifying specific targets and areas where they could be found and encouraging progress of the genocide. In 1994, Rwanda Radiobegan to advance the same message by issuing directives on where to kill Tutsis and congratulating those who had already taken part. “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. “We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government should perish the thought of a Fulani radio sponsored by government if it cares in any form about the corporate existence of the country.”

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