Fulani Radio Illegal, HURIWA Insists

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Esther Oluku

A prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Nigerian government to abort the idea of setting up a Fulani radio station with public fund for herdsmen because it breaches several sections of the Nigerian broadcasting regulations and the Nigerian constitution.

In a statement made available to THISDAY, HURIWA National Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Ms. Zainab Yusuf, said the idea of setting up an exclusively public-funded radio station for a community which was largely considered terrorist to broadcast in one language is both divisive and criminal as it may be misconstrued as a weapon to mobilise armed fulani herdsmen to intensify their murderous rampage across Nigeria.

“May we inform President Buhari that the cardinal responsibility of broadcasting is to inform, educate and entertain. These shall not be at the expense of national interest, unity and cohesion of Nigeria’s diverse social, cultural, economic, political and religious configurations and for which this Fulani radio station cannot meet the thresholds of global best practices.”

The civil rights group also faulted the decision of the government to fund and exclusively commence a public service broadcasting to benefit just the herdsmen or hunters to the exclusion of the interests of the over 250 ethno religious affiliations.

“The decision of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to obtain a license and plan to deploy public fund to commence the operations of the radio for the purposes of mobilising fulani herdsmem violates several sections of the National Broadcasting code which are derived from the extant National Broadcasting Commission’s Act including the sections that prohibits the deployment of public fund to service the interests of only a few sections of Nigeria.”

According to the group, the only reason for side stepping the established public broadcasting institutions such as Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Voice of Nigeria or the Nigerian Television may not be far from the allegation that the current administration supports the Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda of the marauding armed fulani herdsmen.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu while speaking on the topic said that the radio frequency was to end the perennial farmers-herders crises across the country and added that the radio service would operate on frequency of 720KHz and would air in Fulani language, as the government believes that the radio medium is one of the viable means to reach the herdsmen.

HURIWA dismissed the postulations of the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission Alhaji Modibbo Kawu and the Minister of Education- the Fulani born, Alhaji Adamu Adamu, as a deliberate obfuscation.

The group reminded the Nigerian government that the genocides that tore apart Rwanda prior to the coming of President Paul Kegame were aggravated by Ethnic oriented broadcasting institutions similar to what the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, categorically announced.

HURIWA said that it is the obligation of other ethno religious groups to file a case in court to challenge the absolute illegality of a publicly funded Fulani radio station.