Herdsmen Attacks: Muric Urges Nigerians To Separate Criminals From Their Tribes
BEVERLY HILLS, May 03, (THEWILL) – A group which identified itself as the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has added its voice in condemning the slaughter of innocent villagers by suspected herdsmen, charging the Federal Government to be mindful that the security of lives and properties of all Nigerians remains its inalienable responsibility.
It however urged Nigerians to separate individuals with criminal propensity from their tribes and religions, arguing that every tribe in the country has its own criminals, just as every Nigerian ethnic group has its men and women of honour. The group requested Nigerians to stop giving a dog a bad name just to hang it.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC pointed out that Article 14 Section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
While quoting Article 4, Clause 1 & 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights as stating that “Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person,” MURIC called on the Nigerian government to take urgent steps to protect lives and properties as well as visit justice on perpetrators of crimes, as a signatory to the African Charter.
It however charged all stakeholders to exercise restraint as nothing has so far been proved against anybody, stressing that the security agencies must be allowed to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion.
The statement reads in part, “We call on Nigerians to consider the huge pressure on the corporate existence of the country as manifested in the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967 to 1971, the June 12 saga from 1993 to 1999, the numerous religious crisis experienced in the country, the Niger Delta militancy over resource control which is still ongoing, the Boko Haram insurgency which is just about dying out and the reincarnation of Biafra in form of renewed agitations from the Eastern region.
“All the above took heavy tolls on the Nigerian nation in terms of human lives and collateral damage and it has been a miracle that Nigeria has survived all. A new crisis under the guise of attacks by Fulani herdsmen poses a very serious threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria and no one can predict its outcome.
“It is noteworthy that there are backlashes already. Seven youths of Northern extinction who engaged in tricycle business in Ugwuaji, Enugu South Local Government were allegedly killed and secretly buried in January this year. There are calls by ethnic groups and individuals from the South East and the South West for Northerners to leave the region.
“MURIC considers these calls as premature, unjustifiable and untenable. The calls for certain ethnic groups to leave particular regions are tainted with ethnic jingoism. They are as parochial as they are myopic.
“Our position is based on facts emerging from police investigations into alleged Fulani killings and attacks. For example, the Elogba and the Egba in Benue State clash which claimed 60 lives was blamed on Fulani herdsmen. The kidnappers of Chief Olu Falae who were citizens of Niger State were led by one Baba Olu, a Yoruba man, but Fulani herdsmen were blamed for it.
“It is didactic that the police have absolved Fulani herdsmen from blame over the killings in Nimbo community of Enugu State. Equally instructive is the fact that the Inspector General of Police has issued a similar statement. We advise Nigerians to stop calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“It is sad that pictures of herdsmen in Sudan, Mali, Niger and Chad brandishing AK 47 rifles are taken from the internet and displayed to gullible Nigerians as Fulanis on Nigerian soil. This is quite misleading, highly mischievous and grossly provocative. It is incitement on a large scale. The Nigerian press is advised to desist from playing to the gallery.
“We therefore call for objective appraisal of incidents and caution against generalization, sensationalisation, stigmatization of Fulani herdsmen and the profiling of Northerners or their religion. It is a time bomb waiting to explode and none can visualize its reach or its victims.
“We must not allow people who nurse anti-Fulani and anti-North agenda to blow this country apart; neither should we allow politics of resentment and unsubstantiated minority claims of marginalisation to becloud our sense of critical analysis at this point in time. We have all the law we need to punish the individual Fulani, Igbo or Yoruba if he commits any crime. But we have no moral right to target a whole ethnic group for annihilation.”
The statement, while calling on all Nigerians to allow one love to keep the nation together, urged citizens to think Nigeria rather than ethnicity, stressing that Nigerians should rise as one to punish individual criminals and not their tribes.