By Son Gyoh:
The appropriate and sensible response to public exhibition of brazen myopia is silence. Quite often, responding to trash is giving it legitimacy. However, the title of “professor” makes this difficult to ignore. I adopt a thematic approach in responding to the bizarre sectarian slurs by the said Professor, whose position as director of a noble group ought to be seriously reconsidered.
“those patronizing anti-Fulani sentiments do so because of their hatred for Muslims”
In this shocking and condescending slur, Ishaq Akintola reduced the perennial conflict between Fulani and farming communities across Nigeria and the West Africa sub region to a base theory of the hate of Muslims. This is not only inflammatory and obnoxious but also opportunistic and insensitivity to the plight of the Fulani whose mode of production has come in direct conflict with changing demographic realities in domains they had peaceably grazed in the past.
“imbroglio” against the Fulanis would melt away should they Fulani “revert to Christianity en masse.”
It is even more embarrassing that a person of the statue of a Professor does not apply their critical hat in making such unguarded statement. The paucity of his knowledge of the peoples and the regions is palpable when he makes such profoundly misplaced judgement. It may interest the Professor that the states where these crises are happening have indigenous Muslim populations that practice their faith in peace. From Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna to plateau state non-Fulani Muslim population have lived with Christians for many years. So if anti Muslim is the case why have they not persecuted other Muslims including his Yoruba kinsmen? He storks fear that the Fulani mission is Islamisation rather than fodder for cattle.
The massacre of about 60 Fulani herdsmen… is nothing short of ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity.
Horrible and objectionable as this massacre is, where was the Professor’s voice when a similar despicable carnage was visited on farming communities in these states? Would he describe similar savagery against other groups as ethnic cleansing? One expected a full condemnation of the savage killing of the defenceless based on humanity vulnerability and dignity, rather than the faith. The professor could have borrowed a leaf from the Sultan of Sokoto, a higher religious figure and a bona fide Fulani who condemned the killings and called for a thorough investigation rather than the rhetoric of extremism.
“It will be recalled that over 130 Fulani people were also killed in June this year as hundreds of Fulani villages on the Mambilla Plateau”.
Sad and true as this may be, the Professor is cashing in on what he rightly described as horrendous deaths, when he advances a sectarian narrative to elicit pecuniary advantage by patronising the Fulani community whom he only cares for because they are Muslims not because they are human being with right to life and peaceable economic activity. Hear him: “Those who whip up anti-Fulani sentiments do so because of their hatred for Muslims and their inability to tolerate Islam. Those who speak evil of Fulanis are fully aware that more than 95% of the Fulani population is Muslim”. So if the Fulani were not Muslims they can be butchered and it would not amount to ethnic cleansing. What logic is the Professor professing here?
“Instead of appreciating hard-working itinerant herdsmen, tribal and religious sentiment blind authors of hate speech.”
Finally, the Professor suggests here that others engage in hate speech to detract from his own hate script. It is abvious that the Vice President had people like this professor in mind when he warned about hate speak. If the government is serious, the professor should be expecting a call to explain the sectarian discourse he is disseminating.
•Dr Gyoh, a Development activist, sent this contribution from London.