NHRC To Fani-Kayode: Describing Fulani Herdsmen As Tse-tse Fly Is Hate Speech

Chidi Odinkalu

By Ikenna Asomba

Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Wednesday, condemned erstwhile Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, over his recent widely circulated article titled: ‘The herdsmen from hell,’ where he (Fani-Kayode) described the suspected Fulani herdsmen, who recently kidnapped the former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SSG), Chief Olu Falae, as East African tse-tse fly, locust and leeches.

Fani-Kayode had in the article posted September 29, on his Facebook page, condemned the abduction of the elder statesman and June 12 struggle hero, Chief Falae, from his home-town, in Ondo State, by a group of Fulani herdsmen, stating that it was time to seriously consider the expulsion of all Fulani herdsmen from the southern part of Nigeria.

Read Fani-Kayode’s article here: http://www.vanguardngr.com/?p=565711

However, irked by the former minister’s article, Chairman of the NHRC, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu in a tweet via his official Twitter handle, @chairmanNHRC said, eventhough Chief Falae’s abduction was a crime, to make that basis of a campaign against a race as done by Fani-Kayode is hate speech.

Odinkalu said: “Chief Olu Falae’s abduction is a crime, but to make that basis of a campaign against a race as Femi Fani-Kayode did is hate speech. It’s hate speech to leave individual responsibility and describe a race as tse-tse fly, locust, leeches, etc.

“It’s unlawful to advocate for mass removal of Nigerians from parts of their own country. That’s hate speech. Fani-Kayode was Minister in Nigeria responsible for civil aviation. He’s a senior lawyer. This article of his is a crime. I propose to formally complain to the Nigerian Police Force about this article. We should encourage free expression not hate speech.”