Sokoto Bishop, Rev. Kukah, call on the government as he warns against hate and fake news.
Speaking at the colloquium on fake news and hate speech organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, an arm of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja on Tuesday, Most Revd. Matthew Kukah, a Catholic Bishop, Sokoto, warned against the demonisation of the Fulani herdsmen.
Speaking further, he warned Nigerians to be careful as the latest development by the Fulani herdsmen could seen degenerate beyond control.
“If it is Fulani today, yesterday it was the Igbos,” the Bishop recalled.
“When I look at my passport, it has the coat of arm and map of Nigeria. Then right in front of the data page where all my information is, I have the Bini. I am not a Bini man, but I am eminently proud of this. I didn’t even know it was here, because I had to go through the passport page by page.”
He said while reacting to the rumour that a picture of a herdsman was used on the Nigerian passport booklet.
“When I opened the passport the first thing I saw was Zuma Rock, then I see Tiv dancers. Who gave them permission to put Tiv dancers? Then I got to next page, before I came to this poor Fulani man who is standing with his cows.”
“Why is it exciting? It is exciting because this is the time for us to ‘hate’, literally tag every Fulani as a herdsman. We are on a very dangerous precipice,” he said.
Speaking further, he made a call to the Nigerian leaders as to where the country was heading.
“Those who lead us should better stand up and tell us where we are going,” the Bishop noted.
On thebissue of spread of hate speech, Mr Kukah urged the media to sieve every information before releasing to the public.
“liberalisation of the media space by technology provided opportunity for easy spreading of fake news and hate speech.” Abdalla Adamu, the vice chancellor of NOUN said in his opening remark.
“What we see are labels over crimes. The moment you start talking about labels, you are breeding hate speech,” he said.
“We have to be careful not to use our own hands to set our own house on fire and someone will sit there in Russia laughing,” she warned.
Ms Anyanwu, a former senator, said the media has a big role to play in reversing the trend, but lamented poor quality of journalism currently in the country.
She allege that the rise of “brown envelope” in journalism was such responsible for improper news.