Monday, February 13, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Fwd: Kperogi's "The Dangerous Criminalisation of Fulani Ethnicity"

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Shehu Dikko <>
Date: February 13, 2017 at 12:02:07 PM EST
To: Toyin Falola <>, Obadiah Mailafia <>, Ikhide Ikheloa <>, Anunoby Ogugua <>, Cornelius Hamelberg <>, Salimonu Kadiri <>, Tade Aina <>, Biko Agozino <>
Subject: Re: Kperogi's "The Dangerous Criminalisation of Fulani Ethnicity"


The contributors to the current USA-Africa Dialogue Forum discussion on
Dr Farooq Kperogi's "The Dangerous Criminalisation of Fulani Ethnicity"
have failed to see that Kperogi actually criminalised nomadic Fulani
herdsmen. He went to some length to identify, select, apply unattractive
attributes to and characterise an entire group of people as destroyers
of communities. He then said that there is another group of settled
Fulani people that should be known to you and me who are also herdsmen
but who are not destroyers of communities. In other words, there is also
an irrelevant group of Fulani herdsmen.

It's an irrelevant group not simply because it needs his introduction
but because the group he identifies as destructive is clearly the same
group of *nomadic* Fulani herdsmen that people have in mind when they
speak of problems caused by Fulani herdsmen in their communities, not
any other. This is why his article, despite its arresting title, is
devoid of any specific reference to where anyone critical of the nomadic
Fulani herdsmen has conflated "Fulani" or "Fulani ethnicity" with
"Fulani herdsmen." His identified group is the same as that which the
media and others write about. So how can he quarrel with the media?

Besides, some of what he says about these itinerant herdsmen is not true
at all. There are amongst them persons who do identify as Nigerians from
specific locations in the North. I personally know some such nomads, and
I would call them community destroyers if that's what I think they are
but I do not know them as such.

Kperogi's is a misguided piece. He failed to show that the issue he is
addressing, "criminalisation of Fulani ethnicity," is real. It is
damaging. It represents exactly the sort of arid argument that enables
problem avoidance. In this case those who will not want you to deal with
the problems caused by nomadic Fulani herdsmen, and their useful idiots,
will begin to trend (sic) new versions of that now all too familiar
asinine phrase: #NotAllFulaniHerdsmen #NotAllFulani

In my opinion, the response of Cornelius Hamelberg falls into the
problem avoidance category because it tries to shift our focus from the
clear to the vague. Salimonu Kadiri's is the more useful contribution. I
like that it is sceptical. It sees that the itinerant Fulani are engaged
in a productive venture and questions whether those so engaged can act
in ways harmful to their productivity. It is a very good question. But
it too goes so far from the specific to the over-generalised as to also
lend itself to my charge of problem avoidance.   

Kadiri's say gives the impression that because they produce that which
you and I like to consume, #CowtailPeppersoupsMatter, and you and I have
not designed better for them, it is OK for them to do whatever will
boost their productivity unimpeded. No. The trouble is that they move
across hundreds of miles of bush but also through farmland owned by
others, and the farm produce of others is often destroyed in the
process. It is the attempt by owners of these encroached farms to
curtail their movement that results in conflict especially during the
dry season.

The nature of this longstanding conflict is what has lately become
highly politicised. I may have something to say about the very very ugly
politics the essence of which is, in my opinion, neither captured in the
article nor in the comments some other day.

I do not know what his record of direct engagement is but I am surprised
that rather than to reappear to engage or acknowledge the comments made,
Kperogi has instead dumped a new article. Perverse, I'd say.

Thank you and best regards,

Violence is a sword that has no handle -- you have to hold the blade.

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