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Subject: Africa Live: 21-22 January 2021
To: <africalive@bbc.co.uk>

Re: Buhari calling for calm after incident in Ibadan

In light of the prevailing amount of credible evidence from inside and outside Nigeria, I am concerned that the BBC World TV service continues to repeat the line that ‘There have long been tensions in Nigeria between the mainly-Muslim north and the Christian-dominated south’.

Such a reductive description of the background to the prevailing organised armed Fulani incursion into Nigeria is so inadequate that I invite you to drop it and find a better one or leave it out altogether before you do any more disservice to the likes of Prof Soyinka and many many others on all sides of the situation.

I further suggest you take a wider perspective on the issue of Fulani plans for Africa and factor in what is happening to East and West of Nigeria, in Mali and Central African Republic, not to mention across the Sahara which many of these armed raiders seem to surf as they please. And by the way, they are not Nigerian but according to a recent report about Mail that I saw that featured two young women Aid or support workers, they come from Somalia and other African and Arab countries. 

This may assist you to better contextualise your reports on incidents in Nigeria. There are many aspects to this situation following the Nigerian leadership’s policy of appeasement of the armed instigators of these attacks – against which Yoruba and Igbo civilians have no option but to defend themselves. The Nigerian army is not capable of doing so even if it has that intention which is questionable. Reports from the BBC do still matter in Nigeria where English is widely spoken. It must be very disheartening for those attacked by armed raiders to yet again be denied the justice of being called victims. 

If you haven’t seen it, listen to what Wole Soyinka has said about the situation and the remedy he urges on President Buhari – which the President is as yet very far from fulfilling, despite today’s call for calm. Words on the President’s part are very unlikely to change the situation which he has allowed to develop to the point where too many lives and lands have already been lost -which is what has caused the Yoruba to try to organise to defend themselves – and remember next time that Yoruba people can be Muslim as well as Christian. 

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to broadcast on at least the main World service TV channel Prof Soyinka’s clear-eyed message to President Buhari that was broadcast on the rather insultingly-named Pidgin service the other day. If it is any recommemdation, Prof Soyinka speaks better English than me. I see no need for his eloquence to be confined to the Pidgin service.

Jo Wealleans (Ms)

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