The Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, Matthew Kukah, states demonizing herdsmen, especially the fulanis, could lead to a breakout of violence.
Kukah, who addressed on Tuesday at a colloquium on false news and hate speech, said hate speech often leads any genocide experienced in the past.
Following continuous attacks by suspected herdsmen whom some label Fulani, the priest likened the profiling of the Fulani to what happened to the Igbo leading up to the Nigerian civil war between 1967 and 1970.
“If it is Fulani today, yesterday it was the Igbos,” he said.
Reacting to the controversy around the picture of herdsmen used on the Nigerian passport booklets, Kukah asked why the focus was on the herdsmen when there are symbols of other ethnic groups on the passport.
“When I look at my passport, it has the coat of arm and map of Nigeria. Then right in front of the data page where all my information is, I have the Bini. I am not a Bini man, but I am eminently proud of this.
I didn’t even know it was here, because I had to go through the passport page by page. When I opened the passport the first thing I saw was Zuma Rock, then I see Tiv dancers. Who gave them permission to put Tiv dancers? .
Then I got to next page, before I came to this poor Fulani man who is standing with his cows. Suddenly, this is the only thing we have chosen. Why is it exciting? .
It is exciting because this is the time for us to ‘hate’, literally tag every Fulani as a herdsman. We are on a very dangerous precipice,” he said. The priest asked those in leadership position to stand up and tell where the country is going.
He also advised Nigerians to be each other’s keeper and ignore ethnoreligious profiling in dealing with each other.
He continued that the media should sieve through in choosing who to give audience to avoid persons who develop hate and mischief.