Nigerian media deliberately stoke ethnic tensions against Fulani herdsmen — Lauretta Onochie

Presidency media aide Lauretta Onochie has accused a section of the Nigerian press of throwing common sense to the wind in their coverage of alleged crimes.

Onochie also said a section of the press is usually reluctant to report good news about Nigeria because favourite president is not in power.

Onochie’s comments trailed the violent expulsion of a Fulani chief from Oyo after indigenes, according to her, slammed the alleged crimes of a few herdsmen on the entire Fulani community.

In a series of tweets posted on Monday morning, Onochie urged the media to “take a chill pill”, treat crimes individually and not label an entire group of people based on the alleged crimes of an individual.

She also accused the media and government critics of double standards. She shared a video of human rights lawyer Femi Falana, a fierce government critic, explaining why an entire group should not be judged based on the crimes of a few.

“If Emeka, Chijioke and Adanma commit crimes in any state, Emeka, Chijioke and Adanma alone are arrested and charged. Not Ndigbo,” she tweeted.

“If Adeleke, Ayodele and Iyabo commit crimes in any state, Adeleke, Ayodele and Iyabo alone would usually be arrested and charged. Not the Yoruba nation,

“However, when the criminal is Musa, Aliyu or Ibrahim, the whole Fulani nation is guilty.

“Sometimes, Fulanis who have lived in the area for decades are made to suffer the consequences of crimes committed by others. Why is this? They are Fulanis, President Muhammadu Buhari’s ethnic group.

“If there’s an ethnic or community clash where lives and properties are lost, we pick and choose which to attribute to community clash and which to lay on the doorsteps of the Fulanis, President Buhari’s ethnic group in order to satisfy the craving for more bitterness and hatred towards Buhari.

“There’s no tribe that is free of bad eggs. But criminalising an ethnic group because you don’t like President Buhari’s face is nothing short of evil and fishing for trouble.

“It’s a devious game that has been on for a while now. There has been a recycling of ‘issues’ under this government to the point that those who benefit from the chaos have not noticed the strides this government has made.

“They had asked for, no, demanded restructuring. Buhari has no power to alter the constitution so he did what’s within his power. Executive orders mean that governors have their powers back as chief security officers of their states. No one is threathening state of emergency.

“After restructuring, they moved to Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram. Then an international ‘ombudsman’ organisation, released statistics showing that in spite of security challenges, Nigeria is safer under this government than the previous.

“They then moved to the economy. Most of their criticisms were false. With the pandemic and a downturn in the world economy, the IMF announced that Nigeria had moved from the 46th to the 25th best economy globally while still maintaining her first spot in Africa. This angered them.

“They didn’t give it a mention. It was not what they wanted for Nigeria and Nigerians. They wallowed in a mud of disappointment. They are now back to restructuring and Fulani herdsmen. They decided that the two topics, wailed together, would make more impact.

“Although they have refused to take their liberty, local government councils, state houses of assembly and state judiciaries have been granted autonomy through executive orders signed by Mr President. What more can he do?

“Those threathening mayhem must calm down, take a deep breath and remember that this is the only nation we can truly call ‘ours’. The ballot box is usually the best way to change a government. That’s in 2023.

“Let common sense prevail,” Onochie advised.

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