By Amos Dunia, Persecond News
Abuja – Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Thursday took a retrospective look at the killings in the country with a declaration that Nigerians must rise and challenge their leaders with a united voice, stressing that if the people challenge the leaders in one voice, the nation will move forward.
This is just as he said that no religion can find protection when its adherents are engaged in shedding of innocent blood, adding that Nigerians can only resolve their problems when they speak the truth and say it as it is.
The Sultan, who stated these at the 1st General Assembly of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum For Peace (IDFP), in Abuja, further said that there is no disagreement between Christianity and Islam, except that problems exist amongst Muslims and Christians living in Nigeria.
Sultan Abubakar further said; “We must never play to the gallery. Before the Benue crisis, we have always had issues. You cannot be shedding blood in your country and expect God to be happy with you. Taking a single life unjustly in Islam is akin to taking the life of humanity.
“We cannot protect our religion by killing people. If you see people tying belts and killing people and expecting to have 70 or so…. Islam has been dragged to the mud. People make comments on social media and people who do not know the truth simply believe it. It is quite unfortunate.
“No matter what we do or say, we can never bring back the lives of people lost in these senseless killings. When will this killings and madness stop? What are the security agencies doing? We can challenge our leaders with a united voice. If we challenge our leaders in one voice, we can move forward.
“We can only resolve our problems when we speak the truth and say it as it is. The CAN Secretary General has said the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) should be labeled a terrorist organisation. MACBAN has no control of any Fulani man. MACBAN is a body to help the various Fulani organisation to come together and help themselves. We have always said that Fulani do not carry arms. We have always challenged security agencies to arrest these killers and bring them to Justice. MACBAN is an organisation that helps Fulani and not makes them kill people.”
Abubakar said it was wrong for people to assume that the entire Fulani people were bad and therefore called on Nigerians to avoid negative profiling of people.
According to him; “You cannot say all the Fulani are bad. Majority of Fulani are excellent people, just like the Igbo and Yoruba are also excellent people.”
The Sultan called on the Federal and state governments to rise up and stave off further bloodshed in the country, adding that the problem between the herders and farmers was economy and not religion.
He therefore called on both religious and political leaders to be sincere in tackling the problems associated with constant clashes between herders and farmers.
Lamenting on the killings that have taken place in some parts of the country, Abubakar called on Nigerians to embrace dialogue and say the truth at all times just as he called for the implementation of recommendations of various workshops on how best to tackle the problems.
Also speaking, President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Samuel Ayokunle, said the challenge of tackling the crisis is insincerity by religious leaders.
Bishop Ayokunle, who was represented by Most Rev. Stephen Mamza said when we hear of killings, we wait to hear who has been killed.
According to him; “We only condemned when those killed belong to our religion. Once the victims are not from our religion, we simply keep silent. This must stop if we are committed in tackling the problem.”
Also speaking, the Arch-bishop of Abuja Arch-diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan urged Nigerians to take the risk of trusting one another in a bid to resolve the present bloodshed, stressing that something fast must be made to save the nation from yet another round of crisis.
He further said; “We are on a troubled boat. We must do everything to ensure we sail safe so that we all can be saved. We must come together and work in unity.”
Head of delegation from KAICIID International Dialogue Centre, Mr Abderrahmen El Yessa, expressed delight on the strides achieved so far by the IDFP.
Calling on IDFP to focus on strengthening inter-religious dialogue in order to influence decision-makers through effective advocacy, El Yessa called on the forum to reduce inter-communal tensions in the crisis areas and strengthen mutual trust and understanding.
He said; “Addressing the roots of the inter-communal and inter-religious misunderstandings, particularly through inter-religious education and the development of a common curricula to be taught in the religious faculties and seminaries and focusing more on mobilizing additional resources from potential donors to upscale the Forum’s activities and interventions throughout the country and increase the IDFP’s autonomy and sustainability.
“How can we explain the comments made by those in positions of responsibility who have refused to guard their tongues and they talk as they are above the law, thereby encouraging terror subjects to act with impunity? It appears as if Nigeria is on life support with many parts of the organs collapsing on daily basis and there may be the need to rush Nigeria to an emergency room and place her on intensive care unit.”