By - Adedoyin Shittu
They say the black man do not learn from history and if not careful, history will repeat itself again. 25 years ago, one of the greatest genocide in history; the Rwandan genocide, was fuelled by radio broadcast. The use of the media by hateful extremist saw to the nearly extermination of the Tutsi tribe. Another seem to be around the corner if not duly checked.
The 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi tribe by the Hutu was encouraged by the use of airwaves mode of communication. The effective use of the media by the Hutu elite to indoctrinate the Hutus in the country brought about the brutal killing of over 800,000 Tutsis and also Hutus who stood in the way of the atrocity. Organizers of the genocide used ideology broadcasted to bring Hutu to fear and hate Tutsi. The Hutu extremists launched a propaganda campaign on how the Tutsi plan to eradicate the Hutu and why the Hutu should act now by eradicating the Tutsi . It also broadcasted how the killings should be done. Machetes and clubs with nail end were shared to the Hutu adults for the deadly operation. The mode of operation is called killed-or-be-killed frame.
Hostile messages were published by propagandists in the newspaper from 1990 and later the radio was used as a means to spread this hate in the country. Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), One Thousand Hills Free Radio, is frequently blamed for inciting the genocide. The Tutsi were called “cockroaches” and not true Rwandans who fought for the Rwanda nation and they should be wiped out from the face of the earth.
25 years and the federal government of Nigeria under Muhammadu Buhari want to repeat the same mistake
In recent times, the Fulanis have committed similar atrocities carried out by the Hutu of Rwanda yet they have not been brought to book for their offenses. In their quest for pasture for their cattle and also dominion, the fulanis have killed farmers, destroyed farm lands, raped women and also wiped out communities. The middle belt of Nigeria which is a major player is feeding the people of Nigeria has become a shadow of itself since the killer herdsmen started their reign of terror.
A genocide which almost wiped out the people of Agatu community of Benue State was carried out by the killer herdsmen yet the attackers were not brought to book. These herdsmen have been able take the Nigerian security personnel unaware and always finish their dastardly act before the arrival of any security personnel. Yet the federal government have failed to label their act as an act of terrorism.
Three things are usually associated with the Fulanis as they travel; a water bottle, a stick and a radio set. However in recent times, many can be seen with rifle, which they claim is used on cattle rustlers. Instead these weapon have been used to terrorise communities that resist the grazing activities of the herdsmen on their farmland.
It is worrisome that the federal government under this leadership have failed to address the farmers – herders crises instead they deny the atrocities committed by the fulani herdsmen even when the Fulanis under the leadership of the Miyetti Allah own up to it. Instead the federal government claim that the killer herdsmen are from neighboring countries. Now the same federal government is planning to kick start a radio station in fulani language for the fulanis in order to address the perennial crises between the farmers and the herders.
The federal government of the Republic of Nigeria wants to give the Miyetti Allah, the group that sees welfare of the Fulani, 100 billion Naira for the creation of Fulani Radio station. When this report reached the media houses it was initially denied by the federal government until the Miyetti Allah confirmed it.
The minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, confirmed the acquisition of the license in Abuja. He said the radio service will operate on frequency of 720KHz, and will be strictly in Fulani language.
The Fulanis have on numerous occasion lay claim to the resources of Nigeria and also believe that ruling the country is their birthright. These beliefs have only been heightened since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria and they have gone ahead wrecking communities in their wake. Coincidentally, Buhari happens to be from the Fulani tribe.
Why start a radio station for the fulanis alone when actions taken by the fulanis affects all the tribes in the country?
Most of the fulani herdsmen are unable to read or write and the radio remains their main source of information, though this is not uncommon to the people from the Northern part of the country. This action by the federal government is not only divisive but wicked. It screams, “All animals are equal but some are more equal than the other” as the lives of the Fulani is valued more than lives of other tribesmen. Creation of a fulani radio station will definitely not end well for Nigeria if brought into action. It should also be noted that the federal government under the leadership of Buhari has always acted in favour of the Fulani tribe. Earlier in his tenure in office, the federal government tried to map out hectares of land from the 36 states including the FCT to be used as ranches for the herdsmen. This plan was kicked against by many of the people including the sitting governors especially in the Southern part of the country and the idea was held on hold, now they plan to launch a radio station for the fulani in an already divided country putting more wedge into the relationship between the Fulanis and other tribes.
Many have spoken against the action of the federal government and one of them is former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The role and influence of the media cannot be undermine in the environment in which they function and the Rwandan genocide have established how powerful words are; if used wrongly, it can incite war that can lead to genocide and the Fulani have shown already to be a dangerous bunch.
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