Leader of Gan-Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), Alhaji Saleh Bayeri, has revealed that kidnapping and other vices originated from the South before moving to the North.
Bayeri had spoken about this on Sunday in Kaduna and grieved over the insecurity issues plaguing the country which Fulanis are now blamed for and have led to over 3500 of them (Fulanis) currently in detention.
He said that the Fulani had been tagged as the black sheep in the economy and are being punished for crimes they did not commit.
The Fulani leader consequently called on the Federal Government to stop the dangerous trend and those in detention be charged to court to help prove their guilt or innocence.
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.”