Moddibo, what I want to advise you to do will teach everyone involved in this a lesson they will never forget. This can’t be a one-off thing. It shouldn’t, because that’s the way to send a strong message that you are determined, ready to hang a noose around the neck of anyone who demonizes the Fulani people. You see, as your adviser on strategy, I have your best interest at heart and that of all the Fulani people. The same applies to all Nigerian tribes. Our tribes have good people. If any Nigerian insults a tribe they insult me, and they can expect a live whale on their food plate in the form of a robust debate.
Moddibo, I know that the attempt to demonise the Fulani is deliberate, driven by people whose tribes traditionally hate the Fulani. But they’ll have a piece of hot yam on their hands by the time you execute this strategy that I want to explain. I decided you should adopt this approach after I took note of a case a Fulani man took to court, alleging that the Fulani were accused of all acts of banditry in Nigeria. The challenge is that the case is rather wide, open to all manner of arguments. The plaintiff sues everybody – nine media houses, three Federal Government agencies, including the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Orientation Agency, and the National Human Rights Commission. That’s a handful and the chances of putting any Fulani hater on tenterhooks are slim.
In order to have a successful outcome you need to zero in on one person, one organisation, one unsubstantiated claim, one government official who gleefully accuses all the Fulani people of crimes without evidence. I advise you identify one of those cases where accusations were leveled against Fulani people but security agencies eventually arrested perpetrators who ended up not being Fulani. Make sure the false public accusation is made by a big personality, by a big organisation that can afford to pack 50 Senior Advocates of Nigeria into a courtroom as their defence counsel. That’ll attract media attention. Then you sue for discrimination, libel, or slander.
Ask for an amount, say, N10tn in damages. That’s big enough to render the person or the organisation they represent bankrupt. Note that these are organisations that can’t even pay their license fee to the government, yet they allow their platforms to be used to make claims which attendant potential court litigation can ruin them financially. In saner climes, their type are run out of town through expensive litigation. Have you seen a sticker on lawyers’ cars that reads, ‘Sue the bastard?’ That’s what the Fulani people should do.
You’ll need a lawyer who is an expert in litigation. Get one who’ll then gather the evidence needed to nail just one Fulani hater. You have to make it a long drawn-out case, one that’ll take 20 years before the judge will even get to hear the substantive matter of the suit. This must be a court case that will be so frustrating for the accused that they’ll never mess with the Fulani people again. Whether you win or lose doesn’t matter. Tenaciously litigate the Fulani hater or the organisation they work for such that they can’t concentrate on anything else. You need funds to make the case a long drawn-out one. So, this is what you should do; crowd-source funds. As the leader of all Fulani, you can announce that the Fulani people should contribute N100 each – adult, youth, rich, or poor. You won’t gather less than N10bn;with many wealthy Fulani who’ll choose to donate millions of naira to the cause.
This matter is an existential threat, so I’m sure all the Fulani will contribute. Even the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), should contribute. You know the President doesn’t have so much money. Hmmn-hmn, so just charge him N100 only. N100 will do. It’s his moral support you need – in or out of office. Now, N10bn set aside to pursue one case is no small amount. It’s the kind of fund anyone or organisation that recklessly writes or shoots their mouth to demonise the Fulani people cannot have. So it’s enough to put them in trouble in court; give them the kind of whale-size litigation they’ll never again want to have on their food plate. Whoever spitefully paints others bad shouldn’t be spared having baban wahala placed on their food plate. They and those who work for them sometimes don’t get anywhere near 200km to the scene of a crime but they always report “suspected Fulani herdsmen.”
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Moddibo, I can understand how bad you and other Fulani feel over this. We’re in a nation where people demonise the tribe they don’t like. It’s human nature; but it’s taken a terrible dimension here and that’s the reason one is so concerned. It’s the other tribe that has devils, their own tribes have saints; people who live in La-La-Land of fables. The traditional media plays a role in demonising Fulani. It’s there in their reports, the sensationalism. The ethnic group is emphasised when the story is about Fulani – ‘suspected Fulani herdsmen.’ No one reports ‘suspected Yoruba armed robbers,’ or ‘suspected Igbo cocaine pushers.’ It’s obvious there’s a gang-up against your tribe for all manner of reasons. Ganging up to tag other people is common in most societies. But it’s concerning that gatemen in the traditional media here allow some to use their platforms to paint a whole tribe bad considering the delicate situation in which Nigeria finds itself. They all have anti-Fulani gene in them, that’s why. If Rwanda happens here, no one will be able to practise their journalism.
Where many miss it is that they don’t give thought to the fact that nothing is gained by leveling accusations always. Maybe some win medals for demonising. This futility eludes only those whose thought process doesn’t factor in solutions; they’re only eager to accuse, to harbour hatred. And how does that resolve problems? They don’t consider that there can’t be a way out if on all occasions they zero their minds on Fulani for crimes that the Fulani people aren’t remotely connected. Even the nation can’t find solutions to problems when readings taken by political leaders are forever tainted by their hate for tribes.
One state governor went to the United States where he said any claim of the farmer-herder clash over natural resources was a dummy for Fulani’s efforts to kill all other tribes. Weeks after, the International Organisation for Migration came to Abuja, seeking to find solutions to the same farmer-herder issue that the governor said didn’t exist. When leaders consciously and spitefully misread problems because of their hatred for the other tribe, how can there be solutions?
For instance, for some time there was a wrong perception about the “unknown gunmen” attacks reported in Anambra State. Criminals kidnapped and killed people. As usual, some believed groups from the North of the country were behind it. But in a recent interview, the Governor of Anambra State, Prof Charles Soludo, debunked the perception thus: “100 per cent of the people we have caught are Igbos. It is not about some people invading from somewhere; it is 100 per cent Igbos on Igbos, that is the fact.” It was the same pattern when the killings in a church in Owo, Ondo State, happened. It was initially insinuated that some Fulani elements came from the North to kill and take the land. In the end, security agencies identified a religious extremist group, people of different tribes, as being among the attackers and their accomplices. You see, Moddibo, you must defend your people against this effort to accuse you of everything untoward that happens. There’s even another form of defence that you can adopt.
Identify organisations that continue to demonise you and get all the Fulani people to boycott them. The Fulani people have big companies; persuade the owners or the directors to boycott persons and organisations that discriminate against the Fulani because of the criminality of a few as though their own tribes don’t have criminal elements. We’ll discuss the details later. For now, just identify one person, one organisation and sue them out of existence. Others who allow themselves or their platforms to be used by Fulani haters will get the point and beware.
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