Reactions And Intentions: The Fake Photo ‘Fulani Niger Delta Militant’, By Cheta...

Reactions And Intentions: The Fake Photo ‘Fulani Niger Delta Militant’, By Cheta Nwanze [MUST READ]

By Cheta Nwanze | Op-Ed Contributor on December 30, 2016
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Fulani Herdsmen Attacks Middle Belt

Cheta Nwanze writes this commentary on the photo being circulated on social media but wrongly labelled as a “Niger Delta militant in Fulani clothes”. This is in furtherance of the preposterous claim by Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State in which he claimed that Niger Delta militants were planning to disguise as Fulani herdsmen with the aim of killing in Southern Kaduna. 

As humans we all tell lies on occasion, sometimes by omission, sometimes by commission. Sometimes in the belief that the lie will do more good than harm, sometimes, that belief is misguided, at other times, that belief proves true. When a lie turns out to be misguided, our reaction to that lie, goes a long way in helping observers to determine our motives. Was the lie told for “good”, albeit, misguided purposes? Or was the lie deliberately sown, in order to cause the maximum possible damage?

At the risk of beating my own chest, I have been caught, once or twice, maybe more, telling a lie. My reaction, as I was taught by my father, has always been, to own up, apologise, learn from it, and hopefully, move on. I can tell you this — it is hard. But it has to be done. In my view, to reasonable people at least, it heals wounds, and builds bonds.

Yesterday, a good friend of mine, a Fulani man, sent me the following, that it had been making the rounds on WhatsApp groups that he happened to be a member of:

Screengrab from Cheta Nwanze’s Whatsapp

The message was disturbing enough, for me to go searching. Eventually, I found this, on Linda Ikeji’s blog, told my friend about it, and given that he promised to notify those who sent him the message about it, I thought nothing further of the matter. My guy is the kind of person who keeps his word.

Then this morning, on Twitter, I came across this tweet.

What struck me was this — the very first response to the tweet was this, issued almost an hour after the initial tweet.

What is more interesting, is that rather than admit that his tweet was a lie, and either take it down, or just apologise (I have a habit of apologising, but leaving the original tweet as a lesson to myself), our perpetrator, has resorted to blocking those who have called him out on his lie, myself included. I never followed him before, so my first reaction is good riddance.

However, his actions bring us to the question of intentions. What are Mr. Gamandi’s intentions in this whole matter?

Nigeria is currently balanced on a knife edge, no one can deny that. Is Mr. Gamandi one of those people intent on seeing everything burn? That is the only prism right now, through which I can translate his intentions. Why else would he, rather than admit that the story, which he probably did not originate, is false, actively try to censor the reaction of people who bring his attention to the falsity of the story? What about the 130+ people (as of the moment of writing), who are helping him propagate the story by amplifying it with their retweets? What are their aims?

Let’s make no mistakes, some people, somewhere, want Nigeria to burn. They are pushing through their agenda. Such insidious agendas, tend to start with a process called “othering”. Many of us, are inadvertently, helping them.

Cheta Nwanze is journalist and information technology professional. He is a political activist and social affairs commentator. He tweets from @Chxta.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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