By Umar Muhammad Puma
Nigerians have been advised to stop the trend of reinforcing negative stereotypes in matters that are purely criminal.
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) which gave this advice said there is a need to separate the actions of a few people from that of their ethnic nationalities.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the group said that the media should help by reporting such cases clearly without profiling a particular ethnic group.
“Majority of Nigerians from various ethnic groups are good people who should not be criminalised because of the activities of a few misguided ones who are clearly in the minority.
“We have all seen the furore that trailed the recent arrest of five Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over their involvement in the robbery of a Bureau De Change (BDC) in Sharjah, Dubai.
“While it is true that the suspects are from a particular ethnic group, it is not enough to criminalise everyone from that group as armed robbers; in fact it is reprehensible to play up the ethnicity of the Nigerians just to tarnish the image of a whole people.
“This is almost always the case when certain criminal activities are perpetrated in some parts of the country and almost immediately some media outlets would carry screaming headlines attributing the acts to a people from a particular group, even without proof.
“A typical example is a homicide case in Anambra state which the police are still investigating but has since been blamed on ‘Killer Fulani herdsmen’. This made the police spokesman to wonder whether the reporter was there when the crime was perpetrated,” the group said.
BMO pointed out that it would be better to identify criminals without necessarily dragging in their ethnicity.
It said: “It is an act that has been going on for a while. The impression that has been created over the years is that certain acts of criminality are the exclusive preserve of various ethnic nationalities.
“It is bad to the extent that people from the Fulani ethnic stock are viewed as vicious killers; the average Igbo is seen as a ritual killer or an armed robber while the Yoruba is mentioned when cases of drug couriers or Nigerians in UK jails are mentioned.
“All these are as a result of the activities of a few people from these ethnic groups and there is no reason to tarnish the image of the majority of Nigerians who are daily involved in productive ventures and doing the nation proud locally and internationally.”