A civil rights activist and academic, Ahmadu Shehu, has filed a suit against the Attorney General of the Federation, National Orientation Agency, NOA, National Human Rights Commission, and nine media outfits for allegedly profiling Fulani ethnicity as bandits or terrorists.
The media outlets listed as 4th-12th defendants are Channels TV, AIT, TVC, Thisday Newspaper, Vanguard, Peoples Gazette, Guardian, African Newspapers and Vintage Press Limited.
In a petition filed before the Federal High court, Abuja, the plaintiff, who is a Fulani nomad, alleged that the media outlets had caused damages to the integrity of the Fulani ethnic group by describing perpetrators of attacks as ‘Fulani herdsmen’ and, or ‘Fulani bandits’.
Through his counsel, Ummahani Ahmad-Amin, the plaintiff argued that the wrongful ascription of heinous crimes to the ethnic group violates their right to enjoy all the civil rights recognized and guaranteed by article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and article 2 of the Declaration of Human Rights.
The petition, sighted by Channels TV, argued that the actions of the 4th -12 defendants are capable of exposing the persons of Fulani extraction to hatred, contempt, ridicule and conveying an imputation of terrorism and banditry on the entire Fulani ethnicity.
Part of the petition reads, “the actions of 4th-12th respondents is suggestive of domination of other Nigerian tribes over the Fulani people and is a violation of their rights as enshrined in article 19 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
“It’s a violation of their right to mutual tolerance and respect by his fellow beings without discrimination as enshrined in article 28 of the same Charter.
“It’s also capable of exposing the persons of Fulani extraction to hatred, contempt, ridicule and conveying an imputation of terrorism and banditry on the entire Fulani ethnicity, thereby constituting a violation of their right to protection from unlawful attacks as enshrined in article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,’’
He, therefore, sought the court to give a perpetual injunction restraining the 4th-12th defendants, their defendants, privies, agents, successors, howsoever described from further attributing any bandits/terrorists’ attack, past or future to the persons of Fulani ethnicity and describing the perpetrators of such attacks as Fulani herdsmen or Fulani bandits.
He also prayed the court to direct the respondents to pay the sum of N100m as compensation damages in consonance with Section 46 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.