An Islamic advocacy group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged Nigerians to desist from all sorts of ethnic stigmatisation and labelling, saying it may further worsen the situation of things in the country.
MURIC warned against the labelling of the Fulani ethnic group as being responsible for criminal activities such as kidnapping and killing of innocent citizens occurring in different parts of the country.
This was said as a reaction to the arrest of two suspected kidnappers who were paraded by the Ekiti State Police Command for allegedly terrorising the state in the past two years.
The Islamic organisation noted that the four arrested suspects were Yoruba contrary to narratives that Fulani people were the ones disturbing the peace of the state.
MURIC further noted that the suspects had confessed to having perpetrated some criminal acts, including the abduction of prominent persons in the state.
A statement by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Friday urged Nigerians to join hands in the fight against crime rather than engage in ethnic, religious or regional profiling.
The statement read, “The Ekiti State Police Command on Monday, 8th November 2021 paraded four suspected kidnappers who had been terrorizing the state in the past two years. The suspects confessed to the abduction of prominent Ekiti citizens like Alhaji Sulaiman Akinbami, a popular petroleum dealer, the wife of the late Surveyor-General of the state, Dapo Osalusi and Olowo Bolaji in Ipoti-Ekiti, Ijero Local Government Area of the state.
“But to our surprise and contrary to the false information which had earlier been circulated around the period the victims were abducted, there is no single Fulani among the four suspects (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/ssouth-west/494336-police-place-n5-million-bounty-on-alleged-kidnapping-suspects.html; https://africannewshub.com/2021/11/08/breaking-ekiti-police-parades-suspected-abductors-of-petroleum-dealer-alhaji-suleiman-akinbami-others/).
“The leader of the gang is a Yoruba man and he gave his details in a video that has gone viral. He said his name is Bunmi Ogunremi. We are certain that no Fulani bears such a name. He said he hails from Idolofin, Ado-Ekiti. There is no town or village called Idolofin or Ado-Ekiti in any part of Northern Nigeria. Bunmi Ogunremi is 49 years old.
“His co-kidnappers in police net (three of them) are also of Yoruba extraction. These include the food supplier to the kidnappers and a vulcaniser who was their informant. Fulanis are not known to have been selling food in Ekiti. Neither is there a single vulcaniser who is a Fulani in the whole of Yorubaland. Four other kidnap suspects who are on the run, according to the police, are Banji Akeem, Samuel Ebira, Dele Jimoh and Dayo Igwe. None of them is a Fulani.
“There can be no justice in any society which is run on rumours and false information. We warned a long time ago that profiling the Fulani is not the way to fight crime because it gives the real criminals undeserved alibi. The perpetrators smile to the bank while we kill and maim innocent Fulanis and people of the Northern region. The homes of innocent Fulanis are burned down while the real kidnappers erect palatial mansions right under our noses.
“All the lies about Fulani kidnappers have now been blown apart. No matter how fast lies run and no matter how early it takes off, truth will overtake it in the end. Like vengeance, truth is a dish that tastes sweeter when cold. It is constant. It changes not. Truth is like a coin. It will always come down on its face no matter how many times it is tossed.
“However, truth in some cases may be relative, like in the case of social truth. The powerful and influential forces in the land gave out Islamisation and Fulanisation as social truths whereas their real target is to Afeniferise us. They told us that Fulanis were behind all the kidnappings. This, according to them, was the ‘truth’. But today we have seen that they were brandishing ordinary social ‘truth’ as opposed to real truth, undiluted truth, the divine truth, and divine truth will always overwhelm social truth.”
“MURIC commends the police for doing a thorough and highly professional job on this case. We invite Nigerians to embrace divine truth. We must stop spreading lies. Let us eschew deliberate misinformation and fake news. The criminal exploits of Evans, Bunmi Ogunremi and Banji Akeem have proved beyond reasonable doubt that there are criminals in all ethnicities. We must stop ethnic profiling. It is time to halt Hausa-Fulani demonization. We are all from Adam. We are equal. Let us fight crime, not tribe, region or religion,” it added.