Matthew Kukah, Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, has warned Nigerians against demonising Fulani herdsmen, saying that such trend, if not nipped in the but, could lead to a breakout of violence.
Mr Kukah stated this while speaking at a colloquium on fake news and hate speech organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, an arm of the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.
According to Mr Kukah, hate speeches often precede any genocide experienced in history.
The clergy, therefore, likened the current profiling of the Fulani to what happened to the Igbo leading up to the Nigerian civil war between 1967 and 1970.
“If it is Fulani today, yesterday it was the Igbo,” he said.
While urging those in the leadership position to rise up against the Fulani demonization trend, Mr Kukah also called on Nigerians to be each other’s keeper and avoid ethno-religious profiling in dealing with each other.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, NOUN’s vice chancellor, Abdalla Adamu, lamented that fake news and hate speech were being aided by the proliferation of technology in the media industry.
According to him, labelling a particular tribe or ethnicity in a bad light will not augur well for the society.
“What we see are labels over crimes. The moment you start talking about labels, you are breeding hate speech,” Mr Adamu said.