FG obtains licence for Fulani radio station, faces backlash

Many Nigerians have branded the Buhari-led government's decision to fund a Fulani radio station as a disaster.

President Muhammadu Buhari's administration is facing backlash for obtaining licence for a Fulani radio station [TheCable]

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, disclosed on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 that the radio service would air in Fulani language to serve as a vehicle for social mobilisation and education.

He also noted that it would enhance the government's capacity to address the conflict between farmers and herders, who are most commonly Fulani.

He 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."

The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education, Prof Bashir Usman, also disclosed that Hausa broadcasters had been contacted to develop programmes that would help the commission's effort towards mass education of the target group.

The government's announcement has met with public outcry and divided opinions across the country. The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has branded it as a move that'll only fuel a crisis in the country.

The group noted that the 1999 Constitution only recognises English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo as official languages.

The group further warned that the Fulani radio station could be used to promote hateful propaganda against other ethnic groups.

"We totally reject this insensitive decision of the government. The radio smacks of hypocrisy and deception, coming from a government that has in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of Fulani herdsmen for crimes they (herdsmen) even owned up to," the group said.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also accused the government of pampering the herders despite the mountain of allegations against them.

"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.

"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," Bayo Oladeji, the special assistant to CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, said.

Other Nigerians have also taken to social media to air their views about the government's plan. While some agreed with the position of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, others recognised that it could be a way for the government to put a definitive end to the herders-farmers crisis by reaching directly to the herders who are recognised to be habitual consumers of radio content.

The struggle for economic resources like land and water between farmers and nomadic cattle herders, usually of the Fulani extraction but not exclusively, has led to a lot of bloodshed in the country in the past year.

Nearly 1,700 violent deaths were attributed to Fulani herdsmen in attacks carried out between January and September 2018, according to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index.

The Buhari-led administration has repeatedly come under fire for its handling of the crisis as the president, who's Fulani himself, has been accused of shielding his kinsmen from appropriate consequences for their part in the crisis.

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