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Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Shasha Skirmishes And Nigeria’s Unity—Idris Mohammed

SIR: The recent intra-ethnic strife that rocked Shasha market, in Ibadan, Oyo State where innocent traders were killed and their properties worth millions of naira destroyed is condemnable.

If a minor disagreement ensued between a porter and the native could result to, or degenerate into hostile or violence, one is forced to conclude that the crisis is evidently a case of ethnic intolerance.

Surprisingly, both the host community and the Hausa traders have been conducting their business for decades. What promoted this violence is still unknown. But in recent times, there are reported cases of ethnic stoking spearheaded by some bigots.

The criminalization and stigmatizations of the Fulani, followed by eviction notices are just the pointers.

The country is moving fast towards becoming Somalia. The social space is too loose to the extent everyone can say or write whatsoever comes to his way and this is generating a lot of uncertainty and tension in the country.

A very good example is how some so-called social media influencers manufacture stories; marry them with fake videos and pictures to create hatred against a particular group in society.

We have also seen some so-called elites and regional elders busy polluting the minds of the young ones to destroy Nigeria.

Our social space is polluted with fake news, misinformation and hate speech; young people who do not know the country well now sit in the comfort of their bedroom using mobile phones with cheap data to analyse the affairs of the country.

Some journalists and media organizations are also fostering division along the ethno-religious lines. They seem to be more interested in inciting Nigerians against themselves than actually adhering to their journalism ethics; many seem to be totally oblivious of their roles as fourth estate of realm as provided in the constitution.

People are no longer discussing issues of good governance and nation building; now, everyone wants his kinsmen to be in power.

How can we develop with this kind mindset since competence and integrity are no longer considered in leadership recruitment process?

Ruling elites are manipulating our religious differences for selfish reasons. Stereotyping has become the order of the day pushing us further and further apart; people are generally distrustful of one another.

Nigeria needs to move forward. Most of our Nigeria’s peers are now talking about research and development; not dwelling on matters of national unity and ethno-religious conflicts.

We need constructive dialogue in order to know what has gone wrong in the country and how to change course. We need to embrace one another regardless of religious or ethnic difference for nation building. Seems that some religious and ethnic warlords are hell bent on setting the country on fire; we should not dance to their tune.

Idris Mohammed, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto.

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