Over 22 Northern elders warm
against genocide, ethnic profiling, war drums in southern NIgeria
By Achadu Gabriel Kaduna
Prominent Northern Elders and elder statesmen, led by Bashir Othman Tofa and Usman Bugaje have warned against an imminent genocide and crisis in the country, following ethnic disharmony precipitated in the southern part of the country.
A statement issued and signed by about 22 of the opinion leaders on Wednesday in Kaduna is urging the Federal Government to nip in the bud, the war drums.
The statement tagged, “Ethnic Profiling and Looming Genocide in Nigeria”, the leaders pointed out that “We the undersigned, are appalled by the current happenings across the country, especially as it relates to the deliberately engineered ethnic disharmony currently going on in the southern states”.
Alhaji Tofa said “As Nigerians, we must always be ready to resist the profiling of any group as evil or the sole source of any crisis. The on-going profiling of the Fulani and the Hausa as the causal factors of the current challenges facing the country must be condemned by all”.
According to him, “the words and action of certain individuals and a section of the media reducing criminality to a particular ethnic group is a serious threat to national cohesion.”
“In spite of the current propaganda, emerging evidence is clearly showing that kidnapping and banditry is neither restricted to one particular ethnic group or one region in Nigeria. Ritual killings, armed robbery and kidnappings for ransom have become an equal opportunity activity for all sections of the country and as they are being arrested and prosecuted around the country, the profiling of groups is limited to Northerners.”
“While we commend attempts by some national leaders to douse rising tensions, the silence of the Federal Government whose constitutional role it is to protect lives and property, is worrisome.”
” We are concerned that the criminalization and the negative profiling of an ethnic group as bandits and kidnappers by both the conventional and social media has now taken a dangerous dimension. Incendiary speeches criminalizing the Fulani by some political and religious leaders and inciting articles by a section of the Nigerian press, has assumed dangerous dimensions. They have radicalized and transformed their youths not only into eviction mobs but also into killing machines.”
Said Tofa: ” Quit notices and violent attacks by irate youths upon the expiry of eviction dates have become common. History has clearly shown that ethnic and religious profiling have grave consequences for the stability of a nation. “
“They breed intolerance and fanatical hatred as typified by the break-up of India, where millions of lives were lost as it disintegrated, and in Rwanda of recent, where one million people, mainly Tutsi, were murdered in cold blood due to the bigotry of some power-hungry politicians, who are oblivious of global trends”.
” We shudder at the thought that the killings of Northerners in the South are calculated to incite retaliation in the North thereby plunging the country into needless bloody conflagration. We appeal to the Federal government to guarantee the lives, safety and property of law-abiding citizens across the country”.
He continued: ” We also call on our compatriots across the country to condemn in no uncertain terms, the wanton destruction of lives and property and the untenable ultimatum demanding that fellow citizens relocate. This is unacceptable.”
“We equally appeal to all citizens in Nigeria to live in peace and harmony with one another as destiny has created a joint path for us towards prosperity, which can only be attained under a peaceful and stable polity. The solution to violence and criminality is to prosecute the persons involved not to rope in their entire community.”
Apart from Alhaji Tofa, others who signed the statement include,
Amb. Fatimah Balla,
Alh. Sule Yahaya Hamma,
Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed,
Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim,
Mallam Bilya Bala,
Dr. Usman Bugaje,
Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim,
Hon. Sani Zorro, and
Commodore Naibaida (Rtd).
Others are Professor Mustapha Gwadabe, Professor Idris’s, Sha’aban Jimada,
Professor Omar Massoud,
Professor Abdulkadir Adamu,
Mallam Kabir Danladi,
Mallam Isa Modibbo,
Engineer Hassan Hussaini,
Mallam Murtala Abubakar,
Mallam Aminu Musa,
Muhammad Kabir Abubakar,
Nasir Mohammed Abubakar, and
Sunny S. Moniedafe.