By Crusoe Osagie
In what clearly is a deliberate plot to instil fear in Edo people and residents, some faceless people who do not mean well for the state, have been circulating hate communication materials designed to fuel ethnic disaffection and promote violence in Edo State.
This outright falsehood is subtly presented to look like a true warning against an impending doomsday, but lies are what they are. No matter how well worked to appeal to certain morbid sentiment, they can never take the place of truth.
We have advised in the past and it is worth reiterating that the issue of national security and allied matters are not for charlatans.
While it is important to be vigilant and pay more than the usual attention to developments around us, more so, in the light of the activities of terrorists in some parts of the country, it is dangerous to disseminate falsehood and present an unsubstantiated and unrealistic scenario of people of a certain tribe ‘versus the rest of us.’
We urge Edo people and residents as well as friends of our dear state to ignore and discountenance all such fear murmuring and mongering as Edo is arguably the safest state in the south-south region and is going to be so for a long time to come.
Crime according to sociologists has no singular ethnic identity. We have lived peacefully with our Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani brothers and sisters as well as people of other ethnic groups, for decades, who have been doing business with us, some as hewers of wood, petty traders, dealers in gold Jewellery, cobblers to mention a few.
We will not be swayed by the feeble attempt by failed politicians, who are hell-bent on inverting this age-old narrative of peaceful coexistence, with fear murmuring and mongering, conjecture and conspiracy theory.
The Nigerian Constitution 1999, which is the nation’s ground norm, provides in Chapter 4, Section 41, (1) that “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.”
What the fear mongers have prescribed, runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and is clearly a recipe for disaster.
The Edo State Governor is in constant touch with the various security agencies in the state and has also deployed some traditional intelligence gathering mechanism and the feedbacks by no means support the vile fabrications which these faceless individuals are propagating.
The summary designation of people of any particular tribe as killers is erroneous, racist and could pass for a case of extreme ethnic profiling, as crimes are not the exclusive preserve of a singular ethnic groups.
All tribes have a mix of people with varied religious convictions, vocations, professions, good and bad people and their share of criminals.
There are Igbo people in virtually all parts of the world, same as people of other ethnic groups. There are bad and good Igbo, Edo and Fulani people. The constitution promotes interaction among the several ethnic groups in Nigeria to move freely across the country for social and economic interactions, and this we must uphold.
The few criminals amongst us all must be called what they are. We must not fuel the crisis by labelling anybody a killer and murderer when he has not been found guilty of such charge.
We will not be held hostage by ethnic politics at a time over 40 African countries have signed to be part of the African Free Trade Area to open up the African continent to a common market, where all the countries in Africa will showcase their resources and trade with each other, on their own terms.
We implore all residents in the state to be calm and unmoved by these lies being propagated by dispensers of phantom doom.
• Crusoe Osagie is the Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to the Edo State Governor.