The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum and the Christian Association of Nigeria have clashed with the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, over a radio licence acquired by the Federal Government to reach herdsmen.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had in an interview with journalists on Wednesday said the Federal Government had acquired an Amplitude Modulation broadcast radio licence for the herdsmen as part of efforts to end perennial farmers-herders’ clashes.
According to Adamu, the radio station will operate on frequency of 720 KHz and will broadcast in the Fulfulde language, mainly spoken by the Fulani people.
Adamu said, “The radio service will serve as a vehicle for social mobilisation and education, in addition to interactive radio instruction methodology that will be adopted to reach the very hard-to-reach segment of our target population.
“Additionally, it will enhance our capacity to address crisis between herders and farmers with attendant consequences to loss of lives, destruction of productive assets, nomadic schools, facilities teaching and learning resources.”
But while the SMBLF and CAN flayed the Federal Government over the radio station, the foremost Islamic group in the country, the JNI, berated those who opposed it.
Proposed radio station confirms planned Fulanisation of Nigeria – CAN
CAN faulted the plan by the Federal Government to set up a radio station purportedly to reach out and persuade Fulani herdsmen to stop killing farmers.
It described the plan as a confirmation of the allegation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo about the planned Fulanisation of the country by the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
The CAN spokesman, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, faulted the government approach to the herdsmen-farmers’ crisis, noting that setting up of a radio station could not be the solution to the challenge.
He accused the FG of pampering the Fulani herdsmen, whom he said, had been described as one of the deadliest terrorist group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index.
Oladeji observed that despite the wanton killings by the group in the North-Central, not a single person had been prosecuted by the government.
He said, “It was reported in the newspapers that the government planned to give the Miyetti Allah N100bn. The government denied it only for the Miyetti Allah to own up, saying it was approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan. Who is fooling who?
“Why didn’t they set up a radio station for farmers too? Where is the radio station for the bandits in Zamfara, or for the Niger Delta militants? No single person has been prosecuted for the killings in the North-Central. Is the allegation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that there is a planned Fulanisation of the country not playing out now?”
The Christian body wondered why the government could not reach out to herdsmen through the existing radio stations.
“Every adult in the North listens to the radio, so why can’t they reach the herdsmen on the existing radio stations? Why do they need to set up a different radio station for them? They should stop fooling us,” it added.
FG’s decision, right step in right direction – JNI
But the Secretary-General of the JNI, Dr Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, disagreed with CAN and all those who opposed the Federal Government’s decision to acquire the licence.
The JNI secretary told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the Federal Government’s decision was a right step in the right direction.
Khalid-Aliyu, therefore, wondered why Nigerians would oppose everything “positive.”
He noted that it would not do Nigerians any good to always criticise virtually everything based on ethnicity or religion.
He further argued that there was nothing wrong if the government aided the Fulani race “who suffers the problem of not being well informed.”
Khalid-Aliyu added, “What is bad when the Fulani man is being educated to become well-informed members of the society? I wondered what is happening to Nigerians that whenever something positive is brought on board, it will be given miscellaneous interpretations just to show that we don’t agree.
“As far as we are concern, radio is part of the tools which can be used to enlighten the people, through the radio, education is being achieved and bringing people together is also being achieved. So, I wonder what is bad in this. It is a right step in the right direction.”