The fulani Question

THE FULANIS ARE IN DANGER.

Yes… the FULANIS are in danger. This is a controversial stance to take given the fact that their herdsmen are considered the devil’s spawn only interested in killing, stealing and of course pillaging.

Every so often they hit the news, more and more through the kind courtesy of a gloating police official, touting his prowess at catching multiple armed robbers of the Fulani variety, obvious proof of their demonic heritage.

The Monday 10th October editorial of the daily guide said “the recurring incidence of AK47 clutching-Fulani herdsmen, marauding, raping married women and even snuffing life out of citizens is a perfect picture of national security gone haywire.”

The issue has become a talking point for bilateral relations between the two West African Anglophone giants: Ghana and Nigeria.

I am a proud member of this vilified tribe. And like many others of my tribe, my Fulani heritage is quite windy, heedlessly crossing multiple barriers, yet I remain firmly Ghanaian. Defended by law, nature and heritage: I am Ghanaian and my passport does not indicate Fulani, wherever I commit a crime in the world, I am Ghanaian.

I have never herded cattle before even though my father did when he was a boy, and my grandfather did his entire life.

I cannot reconcile the identity and history passed down to me from my forefathers to the marauding, raping national security threat.

I cannot reconcile the identity of my cousins who sell milk at the Nima market to the highway armed robbers.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that members of my tribe did not commit these crimes. Some did and they should face the full rigours of the law.

My question is: what about the abuse meted out to innocent GHANAIAN Fulani (yes there are Ghanaian Fulani) going about their daily business but faced with unfair discrimination because they are tagged armed robbers , by virtue of wide foreheads and slim noses.

What about the Ghanaian denied public transport to visit an ailing mother, simply because the passengers do not want ‘any Fulani biiiiaaaa’ on board?

Everyone has their eyes wide shut against this is unfair prejudice and victimisation against this particular ethnic group.

Hate has become the natural reaction to the word Fulani. The less brave begin denying their identity and pose as Hausas or just say they are Muslims.

The entire Fulani tribe is seen as the dangerous Other, irrespective of what you do or where you are form.

The other day the NPP chairman, Jake Obestebi Lamptey made a passing comment which alluded to the traditional stereotype of Ashanti aggressors, the backlash was instantaneous.

The radio waves were clogged with people scrambling to condemn his statement saying it breeds dangerous tribalism. But everyone remains silent when a entire tribe is branded a murderous menace.

My hearts beats in fear for the future when I see the ambivalence towards this hate speech, propagated in the highest echelons of the realm.

You might call me melodramatic but what started as ‘the Jewish problem’ ended up in the ‘holocaust’ with the complicity of all of Europe.

What will the ‘Fulani menace’ metamorphose into? The consensus is already being generated at the sub-regional level, since they have been successfully tagged as natural criminals at the national level.

Before this gets out of hand, let’s start by stopping.

Stop identifying criminals by their tribe. Identify them be their nation as is internationally accepted and they will always have representation from their country of origin.

That in itself is a form of protection. And let us continue to search for a solution for the pressure on grazing lands which has been the genesis of most of the tensions.

Let’s stop preaching ignorantly and allow the security experts to do their work.

Let’s remember that the Fulani have been cohabiting with native Ghanaian populations for centuries and harmony is a real possibility.

And last but not the least; let us remember my right as a Ghanaian to live in my country in peace, devoid of unfair discrimination and prejudice.

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