Former minister of aviation Femi Fani-Kayode and Reno Omokri, former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, squared off on Twitter over the opinion of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar on how herdsmen should be referred to.
In an interview on March 8, Atiku Abubakar said it was wrong to refer to killer herdsmen as Fulani.
“It is a misnomer to use the term ‘killer herdsmen of Fulani extraction’ or ‘killer Fulani herdsmen,” Abubakar had said.
“The vast majority of Fulani people are peaceful and live in harmony with other ethnicities. When kidnappers kidnap, we do not identify them by their ethnicity. We identify them as kidnappers, pure and simple. There may be fringe elements with criminal tendencies. Some may be Fulani. Some may not even be. Let us identify them by their activities and not by their ethnicity.”
But Fani-Kayode, on Saturday, said he was shocked by Abubakar’s assertion, adding that “it is most unlike him to speak in this way”.
“Is it so difficult for us to accept the ugly truth and to call a spade a spade?” he asked.
“Must we continue to mock the memories of those that have been slaughtered by shielding those who butchered them? Have we no shame or remorse? Are this childish semantics and infantile denials really necessary?”
Replying to his comment, Omokri said Fani-Kayode misquoted Abubakar and put words in his mouth.
According to him, most of the herdsmen perpetrating the act are Mbororo, adding that they “differ from the Fulani as the Tiv defer from the Igbo”.
Citing an example of Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, suspected kidnapper better known as Evans, Omokri said Evans is known as a kidnapper, not “Igbo kidnapper”.
He asked Fani-Kayode to apologise, asking if he would like such to be done to him.
“Read what you quote @Atiku as saying and read what @Atiku actually said. Note that they are 2 different statements. You misrepresented him. You twist his words. Your quote was dishonest. Quote Atiku. Don’t put your words in his mouth! You won’t like it done to you!” Omokri wrote.
“Actually, most of those involved in these killings are Mbororo also known as Bororo. I did a broadcast on this last year in London. If the Mbororo speak, the Fulani cannot understand them. The Mbororo differ from the Fulani as the Tiv defer from the Igbo.
“Recently the police arrested a notorious kidnappers known as Evans. Evans was even discovered to have been a billionaire. But neither the media or Femi Fani-Kayode described Evans as an Igbo kidnapper or a Yoruba kidnapper. He was just a kidnapper.
“Boko Haram became the deadliest terror group in the world in 2014. It has been established by independent sources that most Boko Haram fighters, are Kanuri from Borno/Yobe, but we do not call them Kanuri terrorists. We call them terrorists pure and simple.
“It is obvious who is being dishonest here. Look at the 2 quotes. Nigerians can read for themselves. You misquoted @atiku. It is in black and white. Plain as day. Why did you not just quote what he said? Why did you have to add and remove to what he said?
“Let us face the issue at hand instead of trying to divert it. You dishonestly misquoted @atiku and this is the proof. Be man enough to accept it and apologize. Would you like it if it’s done to you? Look Femi, you lied. Deal with it. I will not follow you into the gutter. I don’t need to suck up to @atiku. I made a fortune in US dollars from just one bestseller! I suck up to the truth not to men! You told a lie. Fess up to your lie.”