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BREAKING: Fulani drags FG, Channels, AIT, TVC, Thisday, five others to Court for ethnic profiling, seeks N100m damages

The Federal Government, as well as some major media outfits in Nigeria, may have to cough out N100million in compensation for dubbing the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria, terrorists, if a suit, currently sitting at the Federal High Court, Abuja, succeeds.

The matter was filed by Ahmadu Shehu, a civil rights activist and academic, against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), National Orientation Agency (NOA), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and nine media outfits for allegedly profiling Fulani ethnicity as bandits or terrorists.

The media outlets listed as 4th-12th defendants are Channels TV, AIT, TVC, Thisday Newspaper, Vanguard, Peoples Gazette, Guardian, African Newspapers and Vintage Press Limited.

Shehu, a Fulani nomad, who approached the court through his lawyer, Ummahani Ahmad-Amin, alleged that the media outlets had caused damages to the integrity of the ethnic group by describing perpetrators of attacks as ‘Fulani herdsmen’ and, or ‘Fulani bandits’.

Arguing that the wrongful ascription of heinous crimes to the ethnic group violates their right to enjoy all the civil rights recognised and guaranteed by article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and article 2 of the Declaration of Human Rights, he maintained that the said media houses were capable of exposing the persons of Fulani extraction to hatred, contempt, ridicule and conveying an imputation of terrorism and banditry on the entire Fulani ethnicity.

“The actions of 4th-12th respondents is suggestive of domination of other Nigerian tribes over the Fulani people and is a violation of their rights as enshrined in article 19 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. It’s a violation of their right to mutual tolerance and respect by his fellow beings without discrimination as enshrined in article 28 of the same Charter.

“It’s also capable of exposing the persons of Fulani extraction to hatred, contempt, ridicule and conveying an imputation of terrorism and banditry on the entire Fulani ethnicity, thereby constituting a violation of their right to protection from unlawful attacks as enshrined in article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the petition, said.

The activist, therefore, sought the court to give a perpetual injunction restraining the 4th-12th defendants, their defendants, privies, agents, successors, howsoever described from further attributing any bandits/terrorists’ attack, past or future to the persons of Fulani ethnicity and describing the perpetrators of such attacks as Fulani herdsmen or Fulani bandits, while also praying the court to direct the respondents to pay the sum of N100m as compensation damages in consonance with Section 46 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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