In light of numerous incidents of abduction in the country, in which other tribes were identified as the abductors after Fulanis were seen as prime suspects, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has advised Nigerians not to stereotype any specific tribe.

The organization further cautioned against hastily drawing the conclusion that the Fulani tribe bears exclusive responsibility for all criminal activity in the nation.

The warning was included in a press release that MURIC’s Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, released on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

The statement read, “One of the challenges facing the Nigerian government today is criminality. But one of the reasons for its prolonged continuity is the wrong focus of Nigerians concerning who is responsible for crime, particularly kidnapping. Every incident of abduction that happens in the South West, South East, or South South is blamed on the Fulanis.

“Attention is thereafter shifted from the real culprits. The security agencies swallow the bait and go on wild goose chases while the real criminals collect huge ransoms, get richer, and become more powerful. This is one of the reasons kidnapping has remained a hard nut to crack in Nigeria.

“Take the case of the two Catholic priests of St. Vincent De Paul Fier parish recently kidnapped in Pankshin Diocese, Jos. The kidnappers demanded N25 million ransom to release Frs Kenneth Kanwa and Jude Nwachukwu. Social media went gaga in Fulani-bashing but findings later absolved Fulanis as the priests were allegedly abducted by insiders.

“One Christopher Yaro, a Christian, was arrested in Ijebu Ode on Monday, 13th February, 2024 for masterminding the abduction of the two priests. His partners in the crime were allegedly four other members of the same church (https://tribuneonlineng.com/police-confirm-arrest-of-plateau-catholic-priests-kidnapper-in-ogun/).

“There was also the case of a pastor in Jos who staged his own kidnap and collected the ransom which was contributed by church members (https://www.thecable.ng/extra-pastor-kidnapped-self-twice-and-church-members-paid-ransom-say-police). Meanwhile the Fulani took the blame before the lid was blown.

“Ekiti State Police Command on Monday, 8th November, 2021 paraded four suspected kidnappers who had been terrorizing the state in the past two years. As usual, the noise of ‘Fulani kidnappers’ rented the air but contrary to the old narrative, there was no Fulani among the suspects who were paraded.

“The suspects confessed to the abduction of prominent Ekiti citizens like Alhaji Sulaiman Akinbami, a popular petroleum dealer, the wife of late Surveyor-General of the state, Dapo Osalusi and Olowo Bolaji in Ipoti-Ekiti, Ijero Local Government Area of the state (https://theeagleonline.com.ng/ekiti-kidnappers-were-not-fulani-muric/).

“The recent killing of three Yoruba Obas and the kidnap of others were blamed solely on Fulanis until an octogenarian, Pa Olowofela, a Yoruba, was apprehended by the police (https://www.nairaland.com/7993596/meet-olowofela-kidnappers-chairman-ekiti).

“There may be some wayward and criminal elements among the Fulani, just as there are such proclivities among other ethnicities. But to hang every crime on a particular tribe is not only parochial, it is naïve, jejune, and pedestrian. Nigerians should demonstrate maturity more than sixty years after independence.

“How can we allow fiction to rule our judgement in the face of glaring facts? Where is fairness and justice if w base every thinking and action on mere suspicion and base sentiment?

“This is why the Glorious Qur’an asks us to investigate every report brought to us before taking any action (Qur’an 49:6). Even the Bible said we should investigate all matters (I Thessalonians 5:21). It also warned us against the temptation to judge others. ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ (Mathew 7:1-2).

“Unfortunately, most Nigerians ignore these divine teachings and rush to determine the culprits behind every crime. Naturally, they pin it on Fulanis. This is how we set aside the tenets of our faiths and pursue our whims and caprices.

“We reiterate our warning issued on 12th November, 2021 in a statement captioned ‘Bursted: Ekiti Kidnappers Were Not Fulani’ where we said, ‘There can be no justice in any society which is run on rumours and false information. Profiling the Fulani is not the way to fight crime because it gives the real criminals undeserved alibi https://www.muricnigeria.com/bursted-ekiti-kidnappers-were-not-fulani-muric/).

“The perpetrators smile to the bank while we kill and maim innocent Fulanis and people of the Northern region. The homes of innocent Fulanis are burned down while the real kidnappers erect palatial mansions right under our noses.

“All the lies about Fulani kidnappers have now been blown apart. No matter how fast lies run and no matter how early it takes off, truth will overtake it in the end. Like vengeance, truth is a dish that tastes sweeter when cold. It is constant. It changes not. Truth is like a coin. It will always come down on its face no matter how many times it is tossed.

“We invite Nigerians to embrace divine truth. We must stop spreading lies. Let us eschew deliberate misinformation and fake news. The criminal exploits of many non-Fulanis have proved beyond reasonable doubt that there are criminals in all ethnicities and in all religions. We must stop ethnic profiling. It is time to halt Hausa-Fulani demonization. Nigerians must fight crime, not tribe, not region, not  religion,” the statement added.