The leader of a Fulani ethnic organisation, Gan-Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), Alhaji Saleh Bayeri, on Sunday claimed that kidnapping, banditry and other vices in the country commenced in the southern part of the country before the north was later polluted.
Speaking with newsmen on Sunday in Kaduna, Bayeri lamented that the major insecurity issue in the country was now tagged on the Fulani people, saying over 3500 of them are currently in detention across the country.
He alleged Fulani people were now seen as the black sheep that commit crimes and must be punished even for offences that they never committed, calling on the Federal Government and security agencies to stop the dangerous trend.
He advised that the Fulani people in captivity must be charged to court to enable the law prove them innocent or guilty.
Bayeri said: “There are a lot of problems, but the most important one is the issue of insecurity in the country. It did not start with Fulani ethnic group, it started with other groups that also commit crimes like armed robbery and kidnapping. The issue of armed robbery in Nigeria was entirely an issue of Southern part in Southeast or Southwest, especially in Lagos, Anambra states and other part of the Southeast.
“With the advent of time, the problem started coming to the North. So, even this issue of kidnapping is something that cropped into North from the Southern part.
“But unfortunately, during the commission of these crimes in the south, no ethnic group was completely stereotyped, stigmatised and blackmailed to the extent that every member of that tribe is seen as part of that criminality than Fulani herdsmen or Fulani persons.
“Criminal activities in Nigeria were never an ethnic, religious or regional issue. But with the advent of ethnic and religious hatred against us Fulani, because we belong to a large ethnic group in Nigeria, we have been painted black and made victims of the stereotype and seen by many people as criminals, until we prove ourselves otherwise.
“Under all laws, everybody has fundamental rights of being innocent until proven otherwise by the competent court of law.
“I want to call on President Muhammadu Buhari, Inspector General of Police, Director General (DG) of Directorate of State Service (DSS), DG National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Chief of Army staff and anybody in custody of Fulani persons on the allegations of any offence, whether it is proven or not, to please charge them to court and the suspects, if found guilty, should be sentenced to serve as lesson to other. If not found guilty, they should be discharged and acquitted.”