#YNaijaEndSARSupdates: Burnaboy comes under heavy fire for his ‘Fulani Herdsmen’ false alarm | #ItIsNotFinished

If Burnaboy were s superhero his two superpowers would be, one, his ability to make influential and globally accepted music, and two, his capacity to get on the bad side of Nigerian social media.

Burnaboy trends so much, almost as much as social media sensation, Tacha, and that is saying a lot. The problem herein lies in the fact that asides the typical trends that arise from releasing a record or winning an award, he some times trend for all the wrong reasons, and today that reason is his careless statement about the Fulani Herdsmen.

In retrospect, the singer/songwriter probably meant no harm from his tweet, but he did cause a ruckus when he raised an alarm to the governor of Rivers, stating that Fulani Herdsmen had gotten to the city of Port Harcourt.

His first tweet seemed to insinuate that the unrest in Port Harcourt was ethnically motivated, while his second tweet called for ethic unity after he had deleted the first one.

Asides the perceived hypocrisy in these tweets, Burnaboy crossed several insensitive borders, with potentially instigating an ugly tribal collision, generalising an entire tribe and reporting fake news.

Tribal collision

It’s uncertain if Burnaboy’s tweet had an effect outside of social media, but within it, the bigotry his tweet inspired is glaring.

Some people latched onto his tweet, using it to push their own dangerous propaganda by reigniting some crippling stereotypes that we’ve fought so many years to suppress. His tweet has inspired some people with extremist ideas to speak openly about how they truly feel, and in a sense, it made it okay.

Generalizing an entire tribe

Although history and culture will suggest that the term herdsmen in Nigeria is synonymous with the proud cattle trade of the Fulani people, this is hardly the truth. Herding is a predominant trade across Africa, and even within Nigeria, other ethnicities involve themselves in this profession. However, Fulani Herdsmen have become an enduring identity that not only suggests that all herdsmen are of Fulani descent, but that this particular set of farmers employ the use of violence and terror in pursuit of their finances.

Burnaboy of all people should know this, and should use his platform more responsibly. As an influential figure, he should use his platform to eliminate this stereotype rather than propagate it.

Fake news

The last problem with his tweet is of course its fabrication. We can only assume that the singer didn’t do much research on the attacks before stating that it is being perpetrated by Fulani Herdsmen.

In a time when we’ve seen, first hand, the dangers of false information, and how harmful it can be, people, especially those with millions of followers on social media shouldn’t use their platforms to put out unconfirmed reports. Instead, they should be a voice of reason, making their points and stating their opinions with the use of hard data alone.

Events of the #EndSARS movement has shaken the country to its core, but its no reason to just throw information out there recklessly. As a matter of fact, we should, now more than ever, strive to let out only confirmed information.

Commendably, Burnaboy was quick to see the error in his actions and has since let out a surprisingly sincere apology, and some have been quick to forgive.

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