Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo says the security situation in the country could lead to “spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis, which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into [a] pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide”.
In an open letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Obasanjo warned that “Nigeria is tipping towards a dangerous cliff and only the president could forestall such a looming disaster”.
In the past two years, hundreds of people have died in clashes involving Fulani herdsmen and farming communities, mostly in the central region of Nigeria.
Mr Obasanjo’s letter seems to have been provoked by the killing of Funke Olakunrin, the 58-year-old daughter of Reuben Fasoranti, a leader of one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups – the Yoruba.
The killing of Mrs Olakunrin had prompted reactions from Mr Buhari and the police, who announced an “overhaul of security” on major highways in the southern part of the country.
Mr Obasanjo warned that for the current president to be able to stop the “smouldering ethnic agitations”, he would have to stop fanning “the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence”.