A civil rights activist, Dr. Ahmadu Shehu has sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and others for the unsubstantiated ascription of bandit or terrorist attacks in various parts of the country to the people of Fulani extraction.
He is asking the court to award 100 million in damages against the media houses.
Others joined the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja are the National Orientation Agency (NOA), National Human Rights Commission and nine media outfits - Channels TV, AIT, TVC, Thisday, Vanguard, Peoples Gazette, Guardian, African Newspapers and Vintage Press Limited, listed as 4th-12 defendants.
The Plaintiff (Dr. Ahmadu Shehu), who himself is a Fulani nomad filed the suit through his counsel, Barr. Ummahani Ahmad Amin, Daily Trust reports. He accused the media outfits of referring to the perpetrators of such attacks as ‘Fulani herdsmen’ and/or ‘Fulani bandits’.
The Plaintiff argued that it is inordinate, unconscionable, discriminatory and a violation of Fulani peoples’ right to enjoy all the civil rights recognised and guaranteed by article 2 of the African Charter on human and people’s rights; 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 prayed the court to declare that the alleged actions of the defendants have the effect of nullifying and impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life, which is a violation of their rights as provided in article 1 mentioned above.
The petition reads apart, “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.”
He sought the court to give its perpetual injunction restraining the 4th-12th defendants, their defendants, privies, agents, successors, howsoever described from further attributing any bandits/terrorist attack, past or future to the persons of Fulani ethnicity and describing the perpetrators of such attacks as Fulani herdsmen or Fulani bandits.
He also prayed the court to direct the respondents to pay the sum of N100 million in damages in consonance with Section 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.