THE spate of ethnic profiling and hate speeches rocking the social media should worry all well-meaning Nigerians because it not only diverts attention from the real dangers facing the country, it also shows that the destination to national unity is still very far off.
Over the past weekend, the US Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI, released statements that some suspected Nigerian criminals caught violating their laws are about to be brought to book.
The FBI indicted 80 Africans suspected to be internet fraudsters (out of which 77 were Nigerians).
Apparently because of attempts to ethnicise the report, some groups “retaliated” by going into the archives to unearth the story of another group of 23 Nigerians executed some time in 2017 over drug-related offences.
Unfortunately, Nigerians have developed the unwholesome attitude of name-checking suspected or convicted Nigerian criminals in foreign countries with a view to casting slurs on rival ethnic groups.
The Federal Government, while lamenting that these criminal indictments and convictions constitute “a double blow” on Nigeria’s international image, affirmed that it would cooperate “all the way” with these countries to sanction Nigerians who have violated their laws.
President Muhammadu Buhari government’s stand is understandable because it falls within the purview of its anti-graft agenda. We also stand on the same page, provided that all efforts are made to ensure that they are given fair, humane and expeditious trial.
Back home, we can do ourselves a favour by strengthening internal efforts to curtail activities of these criminals and bringing them to book before they drag our image to the mud in the international arena.
When we neglect to do enough in-house we will always be forced to cooperate with foreign countries to see that our nationals are subjected to their laws, to the detriment of our country’s image.
We should also hold foreign countries (which collaborate with our crooked leaders to hide the stolen resources of the country within their economies) to account.
They are complicit in creating the conditions that force the youths to resort to crime due to lack of adequate opportunities to earn a decent living within our economy.
These conditions that predispose our youths to crime must be tackled head-on.
It must be stressed that Nigerians are not criminals any more than the nationals of other countries.
We call on Nigerians to stop ethnic-profiling of one another because in doing so, we are only cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Unfortunately, it is the youth who will inherit the leadership of this country in the near future that engage in this odious behaviour due to the negative narratives they inherited from their fathers, elders and leaders. This must stop.