April 19, 20..
“Xenophobia” is one word that has flooded the global media spectrum in the last week. It is the fear of foreigners or anything foreign. It often results in attacks against foreigners and strangers. It is a prejudice-inducing fear of losing one’s identity, culture or some imagined superiority or purity. It is the brother of racism and tribalism.
The current wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa has been directly linked to the utterances of a respected monarch of the Zulus, King Goodwill Zwelithini, who, last month, angrily said that foreigners should “take their bags and go.” A similar statement was made two weeks ago by a Nigerian king, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu against Igbos when he threatened that they would see their end if they did not vote for his candidate in the Lagos April 11 gubernatorial election.
While xenophobic attacks must be condemned and perpetrators decisively prosecuted, the underlining causes of this fear need also be unbiasedly addressed.
Naturally, humans are culturally egoistic. Inasmuch as people resettle, there would be communal cultural sentiments - except proactive actions are taken to mitigate (or eliminate) them.
…Oba Rilwan Akiolu was, on Friday, sentenced to prison for his provocative comments - especially those he made 15 years ago against the Igbos. The Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal judgment that condemned Akiolu to 10 years in prison. The court ruled that since findings by the police have revealed that his utterances have contributed to over 20 criminal acts in the last 15 years, - some of which were perpetrated by his close followers - he is an accomplice in the crimes, and therefore earned himself the 10-year jail term.
Following the enactment of the law that makes nomadic farming in Nigeria illegal, the rate of clashes between Fulani herdsmen and villagers (especially in the Middle Belt) has dropped by over 80%, with only 5 casualties recorded in the last 9 years.
In a short interview with Nigeria Tomorrow News, Senator Yisa Hammed, a Fulani federal legislature who is also a popular advocate of anti-nomadism said, “I am happy we stood for Nigeria. Yes, for our people, it is a way of life. It is who we are. But we cannot use culture as an excuse to continually sour our relationship with fellow Nigerians. It was cultural to kill twins, to walk around naked, to kill human beings to coronate kings. But we had to stop all these because we could not afford the repercussions. Culture did not create us; we created culture and we retain the logic to modify it when we deem that fit. That was what we did. Now, everyone is ripping the benefits.”
The law has brought economic empowerment to Fulani cattle rearers who now work less for more profits. With the help of the government, most now use the new on-the-field nomadic technology invented by a young FUTMINNA lecturer, Bala Abdulahi (story still to come.)”
Friday, April 19, 2030
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