The Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun has blamed social media for the crisis that erupted between indigenous Yoruba people in the Southwest and Fulani herdsmen residence in the region.
“Again, we notice that our media houses have not particularly been helping us. “Social media have become such that people are quick to send messages around on WhatsApp or on Instagram of things are not true.
“So many messages are being shared and sent around, some of them, we’ve seen that they are videos of places that are not even Nigeria.
” Some videos are videos of incidences that occurred last year, we have people that are quick to share these videos around and this is causing disaffection amongst our people.
“We don’t have any other country but this country. It beats me why anyone would be in such a hurry to spread fake news and news that can immediately cause a problem between us and our brothers from different parts of the country.”
The governor, who spoke to newsmen today, February 21, after a stakeholders meeting, said that part of the problems had to do with ethnic profiling, adding that the fact is that criminals are criminals and criminals abound everywhere.
“There are criminals in Yorubaland, there are criminals in Igboland, there are criminals in the Niger Delta, there are criminals in the north and we see that even in the north, in the northeast, in the north-central; we see that there are criminals activities.
“Our people have had a problem with drawing a line between peaceful Fulani people, who are traditionally herdsmen, and bandits who are cattle rustlers, who will steal cattle, take the cattle to farmlands belonging to people, attack them. Now farmers and indigenes carry out counter attacks against innocent people that have been living with us.
“I must say that the Fulani have lived with us in Ogun State for hundreds of years. The Seriki Fulani from that particular corridor speaks better Yoruba than I do because his father was born there.”
Governor Abiodun, who spoke to newsmen after an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja, said that at the end of a stakeholders meeting it was resolved that a joint stakeholders committee be formed and would comprise of the Fulani, the herdsmen, the farmers and government.
“That has since been put in place. That committee is going to be sworn in, I think sometime this evening.”
He said that they made available, pickup trucks, motorcycles, telecoms equipment, for the joint security patrol team to further strengthen security along the areas where these incident had occurred in last few weeks.
He appreciated the governor of Niger State who he said, spent a night with him.
“This is a governor, who on getting back to his state, 50 people were kidnapped and therefore, we cannot be profiling them based on ethnic grounds and be saying, ‘oh the Fulani have kidnapped Fulani or Hausa men in Niger.'”
He reminded Journalists that they have no other country but Nigeria and that they must be responsible in journalism. “Yesterday we rose from NEC, resolving that there must be stiff penalties for people that are propagating fake news because fake news is threatening the unity of this country.
“And I want to implore you who are traditional journalists that we must be responsible in reporting things, we must try and report news as accurately as we can. I appreciate that you want to create sensation, that is how you sell your newspapers and your TV advertisement and all that, but we cannot threaten the security of the country. This is a national security issue.”