Chapter 13: Racial/Ethnic Intolerance

When intolerance is based on racial or ethnic affiliation of persons, it is considered as one of the worst types of intolerance. Racial or ethnic prejudices has led to uncountable number of wars and conflicts across the globe. No amount of prejudice is enough excuse to engage another person in battle of supremacy or domination. Seeing oneself or one’s ethnic or racial background as heritage reason to be given a mantle of leadership on platter of gold over others is very bad ideology.

“Racial discrimination is when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status.”[1]

Racial or ethnic intolerance is mostly formed out of proposition or assumption that one’s own race or ethnic group is better than that of the rest. With this kind of prejudiced assumption, certain group of people claiming superior work to see that their wills no matter how myopic or how unpopular they might be are being imposed on the rest of other races or ethnic groups. Any resistance of such impositions are likely to be greeted with violence which could lead to war. The people with these kinds of ethnic biased prejudices always love to stay afloat around the corridors of power which is their easiest way of exerting unavoidable influences on the rest of people from the other ethnic divides. Most of the wars like World Wars and Nigeria-Biafra war (1967-1970) were all mainly based on racial or ethnic superiority tussles.

In the case of Nigeria-Biafra war for instance, it was a battle for domination and ethnic rule which was occasioned by several unrelated political actions, inactions and reactions of the era. Though the war is over (literally declared ‘no victor, no vanquished’) but till today, we still have lots of pointers that what led to the unfortunate war are still very much present in our midst, and these unsettled issues are still starring us on face unabated.

Recently, there have been incessant and uncontrolled killings of people by some groups of hoodlums that are parading themselves as herdsmen of Fulani ethic origin in Nigeria. It is getting worse daily as these men armed to the teeth move freely and cause mayhem in some helpless communities in Benue State in the Middle Belt Region and other states in the Southern part of Nigeria. They target people of other ethnic groups and slaughter them undisturbed. This menace of Fulani herdsmen have been on for quite a long time now, but till this publication was made, there have been no known arrests made on this regard, which left some people of other ethnic groups to wonder why.

In April 2016, the story these ethnic marauders invading one community in Enugu State (South East – Nigeria) and killed as much people as 40 as reported in the news sent cold shivers over people’s spines. According to Vanguard News:

“About 40 persons have so far been reportedly killed by some Fulani herdsmen at Nimbo in Uzo- Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, sources told Vanguard at Nsukka Police Area Command, near the area yesterday. The incident took place barely 24 hours after stories filtered out that no fewer than 500 heavily-armed Fulani herdsmen sneaked into the community preparatory to launch an attack. About seven villages in Nimbo (Nimbo Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara) were among the areas attacked. Ten residential houses and a church, Christ Holy Church International, aka Odozi Obodo, were also said to have been burnt by the herdsmen just as vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed and domestic animals killed. A young man, whose name was yet to be ascertained, was burnt inside a commuter bus…”[2]

Despite the report above by Vanguard News, there have been conflicting reports especially on the number of people killed in this Enugu Community by these blood thirsty ethnic terrorists. Writing on his Twitter page during this menace, Femi-Fani Kayode wrote:

It was one of the millions of tweets that was sent out on the day to put the world on notice on what was happening in Nigeria. But in all, the main concern of many people who bordered to post on Social Media about this was what they alleged as being the silence of President Buhari who happens to be of the same ethnic extraction with these marauders called Fulani herdsmen. While some people took his silence as giving the herdsmen positive nod to continue their killings, others argued that he wouldn’t have over-reacted in his bid to find immediate or lasting solution to the menace.

[1] Australian Human Rights Commission, “http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/race-discrimination/publications/know-your-rights-racial-discrimination-and-vilification”, 23/02/2017

[2] Vanguard News Nigeria, “Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/04/bloodbath-enugu-fulani-herdsmen-kill-40/”, 02/05/2017

About Author /

Ugonna Johnbosco Ezeomedo (ojombo) is a philosopher, poet, educationist, web developer and social & political analyst. He lives in Awka – Nigeria. He loves working with computer and other creative works.

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