The Federal government has acquired an Amplitude Modulation (AM) radio broadcast licence that would be used to reach out to herdsmen in different locations in Nigeria, as part of effort to end farmers-herders crisis across some states in Nigeria.
But the Southern and Middle-Belt Forum leaders have kicked strongly against the move because it negates the position of the constitution and smacks of hypocrisy.
They said in a statement:
“1) It smacks of hypocrisy and deception for a government that has in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of the Fulani herdsmen for crimes they even owned up to,to now tell us it wants to set up a radio for them to address the same issues.
2) Section 55 of the 1999 Constitution recognises English,Yoruba ,Hausa and Igbo as Languages in which the official business of the National Assembly can be conducted .There was no mention of Fulani which is not a language most northerners even understand. Why it’s sudden promotion to a language the Federal Government will set up a radio to promote ?Will it also set up radio stations for the officially recognised languages and the over 250 languages spoken in different parts of Nigeria?
3) We fear seriously that the proposed radio will become a weapon of spreading hate propaganda against other nationalities in Nigeria given the kid gloves treatment with which the Buhari administration has handled the killings of thousands of Nigerians in the last four years. We are guided the genocide-aiding role radio played in inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan Genocide.From 1993 to late 1994 ,RTLM was used by Hutu leaders to propagate an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tusti disinformation by identifying specific targets and areas where they could be found and encouraging progress of the genocide .In 1994 ,Rwanda Radio began to advance the same message by issuing directives on where to kill Tutsis and congratulating those who had already taken part .
4) Using the instrumentality of the Federal Government to set up a radio for Fulani herdsmen will throw a knife at the tiniest of the threads still holding Nigeria together as all illusions of an inclusive country would be removed and the rest of the country would conclude we are now under Fulani Government of Nigeria .
“We therefore demand that the Federal Government should perish the thought of a Fulani radio sponsored by government if it cares in any form about the corporate existence of the country.
But the Federal Government said it realised that radio is the choice means of news for the herdsmen, hence the need to reach out to them through that means, with the message of peace, unity, tolerance and education.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who confirmed the acquisition of the licence in Abuja, on Tuesday, said the radio service will operate on frequency of 720KHz, and will be strictly on Fulani language.
He disclosed that plans are underway to secure funds for procurement and installation of requisite transmission equipment for the successful take-off of the radio station.
He said the radio services will, unarguably, serve as vehicle for social mobilisation and education, in addition to interactive radio instruction (IRI) methodology that would 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,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), Prof. Bashir Usman, explained that some veteran Hausa broadcasters have been contacted to develop programmes that would add impetus to the commission’s effort towards mass education of the target group.
He was optimistic that it would help entrench peace building, conflict management and resolution, with a view to promoting harmonious and peaceful co-existence between farmers and herders in the Nigeria.
He announced that no fewer than 617,518 pupils are currently enrolled in 3,582 various nomadic schools in Nigeria. This, he said, consists of 320,934 males and 296,584 females. It also includes the 202,050 pupils under early child care development education which also has 104,924 males and 97,126 females.
“This is an unprecedented quantum leap when compared with the 18,000 pupils at the inception of the programme in 1989,” he said.
He, however, confirmed that the Minister of Education had approved the construction of two model nomadic schools in Jigawa and Katsina states, and they would be equipped with 1,800 assorted furniture, VIP toilets and several other things that would enhance teaching and learning.
Additional reports by The Sun