Southern, Middle Belt leaders decry Fulani radio

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The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has cautioned the Federal Government not to proceed with its plan to set up a radio station for Fulani herdsmen, saying the move would precipitate a crisis in the country.

It warned that the station would become a weapon for spreading hateful propaganda against other nationalities.

It regretted that the development was unfolding at a time the Federal Government has been allegedly acting as the information wing of Boko Haram and herdsmen.

The forum’s reprimand came on the heels of accusations by some prominent Nigerians that the government was executing a ‘Fulanisation’ agenda, a claim the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has dismissed.

“We totally reject this insensitive decision of the government,” the forum said in a statement by spokespersons Yinka Odumakin (South West), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South), and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).

“The radio smacks of hypocrisy and deception, coming from a government that has in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of Fulani herdsmen for crimes they (herdsmen) even owned up to.”

It noted that Section 55 of the 1999 Constitution recognises English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo as languages in which official business could be conducted but leaves out Fulfulde, which according to the forum, most northerners even do not understand.

It insisted that the radio station would be used to spread hate against other ethnic nationalities; given the poor way the government has handled the killings of thousands of citizens. It added that the plan would destroy the nation’s fragile cohesion and affirm views that the Buhari administration is a Fulani government.

Minister of Education Adamu Adamu confirmed the acquisition of the station’s licence in Abuja on Tuesday. He said the radio service would operate on 720KHz frequency and would strictly use the Fulani dialect. He further disclosed that plans were underway to get funds for the procurement and installation of equipment.

The executive secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), Prof. Bashir Usman, explained that some veteran Hausa broadcasters have already been contacted to develop programmes for the station.