Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai has clarified a controversial tweet he made in 2012 that has been the focus of argument lately over the ongoing crisis in Southern Kaduna.
Before he became governor in 2012, El-Rufai reportedly tweeted that: "Any person, soldier or not, that kills a Fulani, takes a debt that will be repayable in 100 years."
Five years later, and ruling a state that is being troubled by men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, and clamping down on inciting comments over crisis in his state, Governor El-Rufai has found himself clarifying his five year old tweet.
Governor El-Rufai during the during the Social Media Week in Lagos, disclosed that many people found the statement he in made in 2012 as inciting violence but it remained the truth.
El-Rufai said: “People are making reference to what I tweeted in 2012. What did I tweet? I tweeted that any person, soldier or not, that kills a Fulani, takes a debt that will be repayable in 100 years. It is a statement of fact.
“It is not a threat. It is not an incitement to violence and there is a context to it. In 2012, the General Officer commanding of 5 divison of the Nigerian Army in Jos, gave an instruction that it behooves on the governor of Plateau state to wipe out two Fulani settlements just outside Jos on the suspicion that they have weapons.
“This was reported by the governor of Plateau state and the commander gave the order and I heard about it. I called and said please don’t do that. Go and surround the place and search for weapons. But that was not the objective.
“The Objective was to remove them from the settlement because they are settlers and people that think that that land is their ancestral land, want to take the land. It is not because they had weapons. Now I know the nature of the normadic Fulanis.
“My great great grand parents used to be such people. If you kill any of them unlawfully, they organise to take revenge no matter how long it takes.
“Now for me, the danger is that if the Nigerian Army goes and wipes out a Fulani settlement, any person wearing a Nigerian Army uniform in 14 West African countries is at risk because these Fulanis may have relations in Mali, Ghana, Serria Leone, Guinea, and word would go round that the Nigerian Army has created genocide against the Fulanis and anywhere you see a person wearing a Nigerian Army Uniform, is a target for retaliation and I warned the commander that this will happen.
“He did not listen and that is why I put it on the record so that when it starts happening, nobody would say he was not warned.
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“Ultimately because of that tweet, the commander retracted his plan and they went and surrounded the settlement and searched for weapons and found none.
“To me, what I did averted a potential disaster but that is being put as if I tweeted something inciting anyone. If you don’t believe what I tweeted, go and do what the army wanted to do and see the consequences.”
Meanwhile, not less than six people have been killed in a clash that occurred between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in Gbemacha council ward of Gwer local government area of Benue state.
According to the report, the herdsmen had stormed the community with about 5,000 and destroyed farmlands and crops thus provoking the people of the area, who, with their youths, mobilized against the invasion.