Borno State governor in trying to make a good point about labelling the Fulani as criminals ended up getting his facts all wrong.
Shettima said: “We want to unequivocally condemn the recent killings in Enugu and other parts of the country. But we equally condemn the politicisation or permit me, the ‘ethnicisation’ of the whole crisis. It goes beyond Fulani. If anything happens, they say Fulani herdsmen; to me it is an insult”.
“Kidnapping in this country originated in the Southeast, were they called Igbo kidnappers? We have a great national challenge and we want to call on all and sundry to come and let us solve our common challenges as a people. Because the blood of paternity that binds us together supersedes whatever differences that might divide us.”
His sentiments may be right, but Shettima is factually wrong. Justice Chidi Ngwama wrote in a paper Kidnapping in Nigeria: An Emerging Social Crime and the Implications for the Labour Market published in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science: “The first act of kidnapping in Nigeria started 2006 when the militants of the Niger Delta took hostages to protest the inequality in the region. According to the militants, Nigeria is built at the expense of the region which serves as the cash cow for the whole country. The action which started from the kidnapping of government expatriates has moved to men of God and their children, Nigerian politicians and their children, and religious leaders.”
While kidnapping grew exponentially in the southeast, Shettima was wrong to claim that it originated there and could be also guilty of “ethnicisation” by implying it could be seen as an Igbo problem. Kidnapping wasn’t started by Igbos. It may be possible that the majority of kidnappings were carried out by Igbos and in the southeast. But the fact is that kidnapping is a crime committed by Nigerians of all ethnicities.
In these circumstances, Shettima can’t liken the menace of kidnapping to the problems created by Fulani herdsmen, especially as no other ethnic group is involved in herding cattle all over the place.