Ben Agande, Kaduna
The National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, an Umbrella body for ethnic Fulani tribe in the country has alleged that more than 3,500 Fulanis are in various detention facilities across the country without trial.
Addressing a press conference at the weekend, chairman of the association, Saleh Bayero said the Fulanis also deserve to be treated as being innocent until they are proved guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
According to him, because of the activities of a few bad elements, every Fulani person has been stigmatised and classified as a criminal.
“Kidnapping is something that crept into the north from the southern part of the country. When it was rampant in the south, no ethnic group was stereotyped, stigmatize and blackmailed to the extent that every member of that tribe is seen as part of that criminality.
“Criminal activities in Nigeria was never an ethnic issue or religious or regional issue. But unfortunately, because of 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, stereotyped and seen by many people as criminal until you prove yourself otherwise while the reality would have been that under all laws from international law to Nigerian constitution, everybody has fundamental right of being seen as innocent and enjoy the assumption of being innocent until proved otherwise by the competent Court of law. We should be protected under International law and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” he said.
“This has engendered a serious problem for us in this country and today every Fulani man is assumed to be guilty of one crime or the other, by the fact that he is just a Fulani person. This is a very unfortunate situation and that is why today we have hundreds and thousand of our people in detention many for no reason and without prosecuting them or found guilty of any offence committed
what I want government to do as a matter of urgency is that, I am aware that there are over 3,500 Fulani herdsmen or native in detentions in various security formations in the country. I sincerely believe that something fundamentally is wrong with the system. Thousands of Fulani are in detention on false allegations. whenever or whoever is killed or attacked and it happens that the person is not a Fulani tribe, you hear the spokesman of the president is saying that the perpetrators of the crime will be brought to book, therefore, the security people in will now see it as a threat and thereafter start arresting or framing everybody because they don’t want to lose their jobs” he said.
He called on the federal government to set up a committee to investigate this and get innocent t t people out of detention or charge them to court.