‘These people are criminals, not Fulani herdsmen’ — Sultan of Sokoto
The Sultan, who is also the President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, has responded to the killings in Benue state.
He shared his thoughts on the loss of lives in the North while speaking at the first general assembly of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum For Peace (IDFP) which held in Abuja, on Thursday, January 18, 2018.
According to the Sultan, who is also a grand patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and the President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs maintains that these Fulani men are not terrorists.
Sultan of Sokoto says killers are criminals not Fulani herdsmen
Reacting to claims that these killings are part of the Islamisation of Nigeria, the Sultan advised people to ignore these stories.
He also called on religious leaders to stop spreading these baseless allegations against Fulanis and Muslims.
In his words, “Miyetti Allah does not have control of Fulani herdsmen. I am a patron of Miyetti Allah. It was formed 32 years ago. It was for the cattle breeders to help themselves. Those who are killing are criminals. Let the security agencies do their job. Just like other groups in Nigeria, Miyetti Allah is just an association.
“Miyetti Allah has never sat down and planned on how to kill people. They have never sat down and planned Jihad. Jihad is an Arabic word which is to strive. We strive on living our daily lives.
“Some Fulani herdsmen don’t even care about religion and not every Fulani is bad. A majority of Nigerians are good. It’s not a religious problem. It’s economic problem between herdsmen and farmers. When they fight, so many lives are lost."
“It is important not to label everyone a criminal because his brother is a criminal. Miyetti Allah cannot join terrorism. We will never support terrorism. We are not a terrorist organization. Believe us.
“I was watching a highly revered cleric holding a paper and telling his congregation how Fulanis are planning to take over Nigeria. How can that happen? It’s impossible, just like the issue of Islamising Nigeria. As religious leaders, we have to be mindful of what we tell our followers. So, all these allegations are impossible and baseless.
“There is no war going on between Christian and Muslims. There is no war between Christianity and Islam. What is happening is a disagreement which is common to every family.
“As an elder statesman, as a religious and traditional leader, I will say things the way they are. Only the truth can set Nigeria free. This is a period of great challenges but it should make Nigeria stronger. Nigerians should not cook up stories that are not true. The comments that followed the Benue killings were not good. Innocent people’s lives are being taken and people think it’s normal."
“In Islam, if anyone takes a life unjustly, it is like taking the lives of all humanity. You can’t kill yourself and others thinking you will get 70 virgins. No one can fight for God.
“Both Christians and Muslims are one family under God and no one can protect his or her religion by killing. Stop fighting for God. People who kill others and kill themselves thinking they will get 70 virgins in heaven are deceiving themselves.”
Sultan of Sokoto urges Government to handle criminals for Benue killings
After protesting the innocence of Fulani herdsmen, the Sultan called on the government and security agencies to handle the situation.
During his remark, he said, “Government at all levels and security agencies should be blamed for the senseless killings.
“Even yesterday (Wednesday) I heard that six people were killed in Benue. What are the security agencies doing? These killings must stop. We must speak the truth. You can’t form your opinion on something you don’t know.
“The questions Nigerians should be asking are: “Where do the Fulanis get the weapons from? How can they attack a village and disappear?
“We must challenge the security agencies, the LGA, states, and the federal governments if we are to do the right thing. And once we are doing the right thing, let’s leave the rest to God.”
Meanwhile, the Government has promised to do its best to solve the herdsmen crisis.
So far, over 100 people in Benue and Taraba have been brutally killed in attacks orchestrated by suspected herdsmen.
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