Bishop Kukah Defends Fulani Herdsmen, Warns Against Hate Speech

The Catholic bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, has warned against alleged stereotyping and hate speeches against the Fulani ethnic extraction in the country.


Kukah was reacting to the controversy that recently trailed the use of a herdsman’s picture on the booklet of Nigeria’s new international passport.

According to the cleric, the continued hate speech and generalization of all Fulanis as herdsmen can trigger a genocide in the country.

Speaking during a symposium on fake news and hate speech organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, Kukah urged Nigerians to be “very careful” not to trigger another situation against Fulani as witnessed during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 and 1970 which led to the deaths of thousands of Igbo.

“If it is Fulani today, yesterday it was the Igbos,” he said, adding that, “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.”

“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.


“Suddenly, this is the only thing we have chosen. 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.

Mr Kukah called on Nigerian leaders to arrest the situation before it gets out of hand.

“Those who lead us should better stand up and tell us where we are going,” he said.

NOUN’s Vice Chancellor, Abdalla Adamu, had in his opening remarks lamented how technology is being leveraged to spread fake news and hate speech.

“What we see are labels over crimes. The moment you start talking about labels, you are breeding hate speech,” said Adamu.


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