Friday, February 10, 2017

SV: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Dangerous Criminalization of Fulani Ethnicity

Cornelius Hamelberg wrote : In these links, the allegations against Fulani Herdsmen are very serious. He who feels it knows.

I have spent the whole night to peruse the entire links and I am disappointed to observe that you have read the title of the links and not their contents. Otherwise, you would have discovered that there was no single evidence in the texts to support any of the title in the links. In order to avoid repetition, I will only discuss some of your links. 

In the newly elected President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, was quoted as having said among other things, "The peaceful co-existence between previously peace-loving Fulani herdsmen, who herded their cattle with long canes and our local farmers has been replaced by an era of AK-47 totting and rampaging herdsmen who kill, maim, rape our people and destroy our farms." This statement was made on February 6, 2017. I checked throughout the whole statements of Chief Nnia Nwodo to find out when and where did AK-47 totting and rampaging herdsmen kill, maim, rape our (Igbo) people and destroy our (Igbo) farms, but could not find any. I noticed that in the Vanguard headline, the Ohaneze's statement of, rape our people was substituted with rape our wives. The newly appointed Pesident-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, needed to say something to live up to the reputation of the defender of Igbo people's interest and he found it convenient to scape-goat Fulani herdsmen. However, he never said, rape our wives or women as you preferred to write.

In its editorial,, the following, among others, was written, "In their latest atrocity, hundreds of cattle herders descended on Ukpabi Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State last week, leaving a bloody trail. In all, the herdsmen killed 46 people, injuring several others. They burnt down houses and vehicles in the village. Writing on the same event we find in, the following: The Fulani herdsmen attacked at 6.00am just after morning prayers in Nimbo, an idyllic village in southeast Nigeria where farmers grow yams and pawpaws. At first the villagers thought it was a joke. The nomadic cattle rearers , who have clashed with farmers over grazing rights in central Nigeria for decades, had never come this far south. But then they saw 20 young men descend from the hills and emerge from the palm tree forest, shooting AK-47 assault rifles in the air and waving machetes. 'We started hearing the sound of gunshots everywhere. They shot so many people,' Kingsley Oneyebuchie, a 31 year-old civil servant, told AFP. At least, 10 people are thought to have been killed and scores of others injured." The big credibility questions, if we compare Punch Nigeria and African Sun Times narrations of what happened in Nimbo village, are : Did hundreds of cattle herders attack Nimbo village or were they twenty?; Did the herdsmen kill 46 people or at least 10?; how could the attackers be identified as herdsmen when they were not accompanied by their cows/cattle?; and what of if the attackers were ordinary criminals who were there to harvest the crops of the villagers?

As Chief Nnia Nwodo observed, Fulani herdsmen no longer carry long canes to lead their herds but AK-47 rifles to ward off machineguns armed cattle rustlers which did not exist before. If plunderers of our national treasury can build high fences around their mansions and employ armed guards to protect them against robbers and kidnappers, why should it be wrong for a toiling Fulani herdsman to protect himself and his cattle with a machine gun against armed cattle thieves? Ironically, in one of the links forwarded by Cornelius, (3rd March 2016) the article was accompanied with a photograph of a herdsman hanging an AK-47 rifle on his shoulder in front of his herds in the bush. The pipe of the rifle pointed backward and not to the front which indicated that he was not expecting  combat with anybody, human or mammal. Psychologically, readers are wrongly impressed to believe that the rifle carrying herdsman is a terrorist or a Fulani militant, of which none is correct. Further in the link, http://, photographs of two herdsmen grazing their cows in the bush, not in a farmland, were displayed without any weapon in sight. What was it that qualified the two Fulani herdsmen in the picture as terrorists? accompanied its headline: Nigerian Fulani militants named as 4th deadliest terror group in the world with the picture of militarily clothed armed men in a military truck. None of the persons in the truck was identified as a Fulani herdsman and I strongly suspect that the pictured vehicle and persons therein were from Islamic militia invasion of Mali during the crisis there. Citing Global Terror Index, wrote: The fourth deadliest known terrorist group has been named as the Fulani militant group operating in Nigeria and parts of the Central African Republic.

In 2013, the Fulani killed around 80 people in total - but by 2014 the group had killed 1, 229.

Operating mainly in the middle belt of Nigeria, opposed to the North which is dominated by Boko Haram, the group recorded 847 deaths last year across five states and has also been known to stage attacks in Central African Republic. As much as 92 per cent of their attacks target private citizens reflecting the group's primary concern over the ownership of farmland.

For non-Nigerians, it is worthy to know that middle belt used to be part of Northern Region of Nigeria and in the present six geo-political zone, middle belt is contained in the  North Central Zone. In fact, North as a whole has never at anytime been dominated by Boko Haram even though it was somehow strong in the Northeast until recently. And what is this Global Terrorism Index that has arrogated to itself the right to name Fulani herdsmen terrorists? The GTI is a derivative of the Institute For Economics And Peace based in Sydney, Australia. There is nothing wrong in trying to find relations/connections between economic injustice/justice, peace and wars globally. It is self-explanatory that where there is economic injustice, there can be no peace. However, the Institute For Economics and Peace  would appear to be concerned mostly with the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism for which it has created Global Terrorism Database (GTD). The greatest terrorists on earth, as far as Africa is concerned, are those who help to keep/hide developmental funds stolen from Africa. On 13 November 2007, Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) spoke at a three-day national seminar organised in Abuja by Nuhu Ribabu's led EFCC. He told his audience that between 1960 when Nigeria became independent and 1999 when democracy was restored, a staggering sum of $400 billion was stolen and stashed away in foreign countries by a generation of corrupt Nigerian rulers. He explained, "If you were to put $400 billion bills in a row, you would make a path from here to the moon and back, not once but, 75 times. Think of how different Nigeria would have looked today (if that money had been used to develop the country)," Maria Costa lamented. Since 2015, Nigerians have been informed that between 1999 and 2015, not less than 600 billion dollars have been stolen and stashed away in those countries that usually describe us as underdeveloped and poor. As a result of economic terrorism aided and abated by the developed countries that keep developmental funds stolen from Nigeria, Nigerians are dying in thousands daily because of lack of standard hospitals, bad roads, lack of potable water and many other things that would make life comfortable to live. In this 21st century and with the quality of education claimed by our officials, no Nigerian, whether Fulani or not should engage in nomadic animal husbandry. Without Fulani herdsmen, perhaps, Nigeria would have been a market for the export of Australian beef as if it is not disgraceful enough to be the Chairman of Fuel Importing Countries despite the fact that we are Crude Oil Exporter.

We should be honest and truthful all the time in our dealings with one another. The links posted by Cornelius are not based on truth or facts, rather they are based on prejudice and lies against Fulani herdsmen. On October 1, 2010, there was a bomb blast in Abuja near the Eagle Square. President Jonathan rushed later to the Press to tell the world that the bomb blast that killed eight people was  handiwork of Northerners that did not want him to contest for the 2011 Presidential election on the platform of PDP. At the end, it turned out that the car bomb was detonated by MEND and Okah brothers from Rivers State were behind the dastardly act. While Okah senior was jailed for the crime in South Africa his junior brother's trial is yet to be concluded in Nigeria till today. However, in South Africa, Okah swore to an affidavit that the car bomb was planned in connivance with Jonathan who had wanted to use it to blackmail Northerners who were opposed to his PDP Presidential  candidature in 2011. That is why we should be very careful not to blame Fulani herdsmen when criminals exploit darkness of the night to harvest the crops of the farmers in Nimbo.



Från: <> för Cornelius Hamelberg <>
Skickat: den 9 februari 2017 02:35
Till: USA Africa Dialogue Series
Ämne: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Dangerous Criminalization of Fulani Ethnicity

Ogbeni Kadiri,

In these links, the allegations against Fulani Herdsmen are very serious and many.

He who feels it knows.

One no less than the Ohanaeze is charging the Fulani herdsmen with "destroying our farms and raping our women."And raping our women. Is that not adding insult to injury?

By what sleight of hand/ feats of propaganda and false media reports have Fulani Herdsmen been labelled not only a terrorist organisation but as the fourth most deadliest terrorist group in the world ! How does one set about dismantling/dispelling the statistical evidence on which such an assessment is arrived at ?

May I suggest that the idyllic Nigeria of peaceful, law-abiding, pastoral Fulani herdsmen that you once knew has changed dramatically and that's one of the reasons why just a few years ago there were no complaints about Fulani Herdsmen, not even from Pastor Lucifer and his disciples.

The other reason could be that the herdsmen are associated with the North which is identifiable as mostly Muslim and therefore the accusations against them, undoubtedly part of the general pattern of the growing Islamophobia in Nigeria directed against the herdsmen who their enemies want to typify as being murderous representatives of Islam.

The syllogism that Prof Kperogi and all truth sayers must vehemently dement:

"All Fulani Herdsmen are wanton murderers

Ogbeni B is a Fulani Herdsman

Therefore Ogbeni B is a wanton murderer."

As bad as the blood libel when Toyin Adepoju accuses me of being one of those who repose in mere indignation at "those who chose to wash their mouths with the blood of other human beings " as if I like blood, or eat blood or drink it as sacrificial wine...

Various postings on this forum have explained why certain miscreants are appealing to the one that they believe is the great Islamophobic president of the United States to rally to their cause and are delighted with the solemn promise made in his first inaugural address, to "unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth". This of course is music to the ears of Apostle Satani.

To me these injunctions are quite clear :

# Not to love the missionary--Deuteronomy 13:9

# Not to cease hating the missionary--Deuteronomy 13:9

# Not to save the missionary--Deuteronomy 13:9

# Not to say anything in his defence--Deuteronomy 13:9

# Not to refrain from incriminating him--Deuteronomy 13:9

Here endeth.

According to the TV meteorologist it's going to be eight degrees below zero in Stockholm, today, the 9th of February 2017. So you see, we are getting our punishment already, so that we don't have to fear ever going to join Pastor Lucifer inside or near the hell-fire…

Yours sin-cerely,


We Sweden

On Wednesday, 8 February 2017 00:01:11 UTC+1, ogunlakaiye wrote:

Dear Dr, Rosemary Danesi (PhD Law, Essex) BSc. LLB, LLM (MCIPM, MNIM), Fulbright Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States, Lecturer, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, Legal/Labour Relations Consultant!!!

Although I am not an admirer of Dr. Farooq Kperogi, his admonition against criminalisation of Fulani herdsmen should be of interest to anyone who desires justice at all levels of life in Nigeria. I assume that, even from your pedestal of academic degrees, you know not only how Fulani herdsmen look like but that you are also acquainted with their working conditions. With that assumption, may I know if you have personally witnessed Fulani Herdsmen wreaking havoc on farmlands and killing innocent people? If not, why are you so categorical in your statement and your subsequent question?


Från: 'Ms rosemary danesi' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <>
Skickat: den 7 februari 2017 18:19
Ämne: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Dangerous Criminalization of Fulani Ethnicity
Dr Farook can you tell us why nothing has been done to the Fulani Herdsmen who have wreaked havoc on farmlands and killed so many innocent people. Why has there been no arrest of these criminals and murderers?  

Dr. Rosemary Danesi (PhD Law, Essex) BSc. MSc. LLB. BL LLM. (MCIPM, MNIM)
Fulbright Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States,
Lecturer, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria
Legal/Labour Relations Consultant
Mobile Phone: 08100534915 & 08185825232
'Do unto others as you wish them do unto you'

On Saturday, February 4, 2017 8:40 AM, Farooq A. Kperogi <> wrote:

My column in today's Daily Trust on Saturday:

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

The Nigerian mass media—and the online echo chambers they have spawned on social media and elsewhere—have normalized the pathologization and criminalization of the Fulani ethnic identity through their popularization of the odious "Fulani herdsmen" collocation. Criminalizing and pathologizing an entire ethnic identity is often the precursor to genocide.

That's why an ignorant and hate-filled preacher by the name of Apostle Johnson Suleiman could glibly tell his church members to extra-judicially murder "Fulani herdsmen." "And I told my people, any Fulani herdsman you see around you, kill him," he said in a widely circulated video. "I have told them in the church here that any Fulani herdsman that just entered by mistake, kill him, kill him! Cut his head!"

Before I am misunderstood, let me be clear that I am not defending, excusing, or minimizing the mass murders attributed to some "Fulani herdsmen" in Agatu, southern Kaduna, and elsewhere. No human being deserves to be killed by any group for any reason. For as long as I breathe, I will always defend the sanctity of human life. That's why, although I'm not a Shiite, I came down very hard on the Buhari government for its horrendously bestial mass slaughter of innocent Shiites in 2015.

But we can condemn a wrong by a people without tarring an entire community numbering millions of people across vast swathes of land in West Africa with a broad brush. The Fulani people are far and away the most widely dispersed ethnic group in West Africa. And, although they dominate the cattle herding trade, they are not all cattle herders, and most cattle herders aren't violent and murderous. Nor are all cattle herders Fulanis.

Most importantly, though, although "settled," urban Fulanis are mostly Muslims, cattle-herding Fulanis are mostly neither Muslims nor Christians. Their whole religion is usually just the welfare of their cattle. In addition, cattle-herding Fulanis don't recognize, much less have loyalty to, Nigeria's prevailing geopolitical demarcations. In other words, they are not invariably northerners.

So if they have sanguinary clashes with farmers, those clashes aren't instigated by religion or region. They are just age-old farmer/herder clashes. I admit, though, that it isn't just Middle Beltan and southern Nigerian victims of farmer/herder clashes that use the lenses of Nigeria's primordial fissures to gaze at Fulani herders; northern Nigerian Muslim politicians, especially those that have a Fulani bloodline, also use these lenses to defend and protect their "kinsfolk," often ignorantly and opportunistically.

In 2000, for instance, General Muhammadu Buhari traveled all the way from Kaduna to Ibadan to protect Fulani herdsmen who were at the receiving end of retaliatory killings by Yoruba farmers. Governor el-Rufai is also a self-confessed Fulani supremacist who once threatened retaliation against other ethnic groups on behalf of Fulani herders. I think it is these sorts of misguided parochialisms that conduce to the conflation of Fulani herder identity with the identity and divisive politics of urban northern Nigerian elites with tinctures of Fulani ancestry.

But this is all wrong. My late father was raised by Fulani herders for the first 12 years of his life. I also have adoptive full-blooded Fulani cousins who were raised by my grandfather and my paternal aunt. They were abandoned at birth in the hospital when their mothers died in labor in my hometown, and they were adopted by my grandfather. That was not unusual in my community in bygone days.  So when I talk of cattle-herding Fulani people, I do so with the benefit both of personal experience and scholarly immersion into their life, history and ways.

The Fulani nomads who destroy communities throughout West Africa, not just in Nigeria, don't have any sense of rootedness in any modern nation-state. They are, for the most part, untouched by the faintest sprinkle of modernity, and owe no allegiance to any overarching primordial, regional, or religious identity. That's why they are called transhumant pastoralists.

But there are also bucolic Fulani herders who plant roots in communities, live peacefully with their hosts, and even speak the languages of the communities they choose to live in. In my hometown, the Fulani are so integral to the community that the king of the Fulani, who is appointed by our emir (who isn't Fulani), is part of the 7 kingmakers that elect a new emir. These rooted, bucolic Fulani herders are often exempt from the episodic communal upheavals that so often erupt between sedentary communities and itinerant herders.

I recall that there was a particularly sanguinary class between Fulani herders and farmers in the early 1990s that caused so many deaths in western Borgu. Farmers chose to retaliate the killings of their kind and organized a well-planned counter attack that caused scores of itinerant cattle herders—and their cattle—to be killed. What was intriguing about the counter attack was that the farmers spared all settled Fulani herders. They told them apart from the transhumant herders because the local Fulani spoke the local language. Ability to speak the local language indicated that they weren't the "citizens without frontiers" who unleashed terror on farming communities.

 A similar incident happened in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State in 2000. In the retaliatory attacks against Fulani nomads who killed farmers, Yoruba-speaking Fulani cattle herders were spared. Like in Borgu and elsewhere, bucolic Fulani herders are intricately woven into the fabric of the communities in which they live.

I am saying all this to call attention to the reality that farmer/herder clashes aren't north-south, Muslim-Christian or ethnic conflicts. The Fulani who have lived in the south for ages don't see themselves as northerners living in the south—and they are NOT. In any case, they've lived there prior to the advent of colonialism that invented the Nigerian nation-state. Notions of southern Nigeria and northern Nigeria are colonial categories that have little or no meaning to both the bucolic Fulani nomads who live peacefully with their hosts and the blood-thirsty, marauding citizens without frontiers who inflict violence on farming communities all over West Africa, not just in southern or Middle Beltan Nigeria.

So which of the two categories of Fulani herders do the Nigerian media mean when they criminalize "Fulani herdsmen?" And which one does Apostle Suleiman want his church members to murder in cold blood?

But it gets even trickier. Sometime in 2003 in Gombe, itinerant Fulani herders called the Udawa killed scores of farmers most of whom were ethnic and linguistic Fulanis. Former Governor Abubakar Hashidu had to request federal military assistance to contain the menace of the Udawa. Similarly, hundreds of Hausa and Fulani farmers in Nigeria's northwest get killed by transhumant Fulani herders every year. But such stories don't make it to the national news because it isn't "newsy" to read about Fulani herders killing Fulani farmers.

The media have a responsibility to let the world know that it is transhumant herders with no sense of geographic rootedness that are drenching communities in blood, not all "Fulani herdsmen," many of whom are peaceful, organic members of the communities in which they live.

Related Article:
Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Journalism & Emerging Media
School of Communication & Media
Social Science Building 
Room 5092 MD 2207
402 Bartow Avenue
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw, Georgia, USA 30144
Cell: (+1) 404-573-9697
Personal website:
Author of Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World

"The nice thing about pessimism is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised." G. F. Will

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