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MURIC has one valid point regarding rapper's "This is Nigeria"

We need to talk about how Falz recklessly depicted Fulani men.

The body claims that in his much-applauded commentary on the Nigerian situation, the rapper's depiction of the Chibok girls does not depict their reality. In a statement released today, June 5, 2018, it claims that a scene where a man dressed in Fulani attire beheads a man is spiteful and intended to denigrate Islam and Muslims.

MURIC described the video as "thoughtless, insensitive and highly provocative" and said it could create religious and ethnic crises of "unprecedented dimension".

The statement reads, "MURIC rejects Falz’ explanation that the girls in hijab in his ‘Shaku Shaku’ dance symbolize the Chibok girls because nothing in the video indicates that the girls represent the Chibok girls".

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“At least none of the Chibok girls have been seen dancing like a drunkard. They are always in pensive mood. Do they have any cause to be dancing? Are they happy? ", it asks.

"The video manifests ethnic bias against Fulanis while it ignored the criminal activities of ethnic militia of the Middle Belt who have also massacred Fulanis and rustled their cattle in their thousands".

In the concluding paragraphs, MURIC goes on to accuse Falz of creating a hate video and misusing his freedom of expression.

You shouldn't really take MURIC serious

If precedent is anything to go by, MURIC doesn't really beg to be taken seriously.

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The council describes itself as "a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims."

It was formed on this side of the 2000s and its leader, Professor Ishaq Akintola releases statements in response to popular incidents with any reference to Muslims such as the delayed release of Leah Sharibu, Amusa Firdausa's hijab drama with the Nigerian Law School and Donald Trump's condemnation of killings in Mubi, Adamawa.

It has become most known for these reactions and press statements. In his statements, Oloyede often takes a one-for-all stance, appearing to speak for all Muslims against perceives injustices against individuals.

But not much more follows.

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This group portends to condemn terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'.

On the one part, MURIC adds some bite to its threat by referring to instances where Muslims in Nigeria and Europe have responded violently to perceived disrespect of the culture or its icons.

On the more important end, however, a basis for their argument touches on a very salient point.

It starts at the 0:20 mark. A man in Fulani attire sits strumming his traditional guitar. He is then shown walking towards a man kneeling on the ground, with what appears to be a black polythene bag around his head.

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He picks up a machete from the ground, and swings it up, and then down. The camera moves away and then back, but it needn't have. We know what just happened.

The Fulani man killed the guy in black.

One of the first scenes on Falz's "This is Nigeria" is the most problematic. We could well assume what Falz was trying to do in his reference to the spate of killings in the North and Middle West by bandits.

News from the affected communities and arrests have pointed fingers at herdsmen from the Nomadic Fulani tribe.

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Yet, with this scene, Falz seems to suggest that Fulani men are at the center of the country's worst internal security crisis. There is no context for this suggestion.

He makes no effort to explain why there are claims that armed bandits from neighbouring countries are responsible.

A worthier cause would have been to draw attention to the insecurity in that area of the country and how the stereotypes surrounding a tribe are distracting us from the actual problem.

It is perhaps the biggest difference between Falz's iteration and the original Hiro Mukai/Donald Glover collaboration.

A number of the references to pertinent issues in Nigerian society are done without considering the circumstances in which they happen, especially considering that Falz consciously seeks to draw attention to them, not distract us, as Glover did.

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It has been said that it would be best to focus on the message, and not kill the messenger.

Ultimately, this is a bitter pill to swallow considering the circumstances, but what we can best settle for is that Falz saw a problem and tried to address it.

Whether an artist's intention should trump the flaws in their execution is something worth discussing, especially if we hope that Falz's video will inspire any of Nigeria's metric-crazed pop stars to veer into social commentary.

That same energy

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Ultimately, there isn't much MURIC could do. Attacking a rapper over a music video would defeat everything they represent, but again, few of these bodies are known for their consistency.

The biggest takeaway from this is that when art seeks to address real-life issues, a greater standard is expected from the creators than Nigerian pop will readily aspire to. If we will ask our creatives to be inspired enough to allow their art reflect society's obvious truths, it is a standard we must demand of them.

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