The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has finally spoken out on the recent killings of farmers in some parts of the country by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Sa’ad Abubakar III, exonerated Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria of any culpability in the recent killings of farmers in some parts of the country by suspected Fulani herdsmen, adding that the organisation has no control over any Fulani man.
According to Vanguard, the Sultan who rather attributed the massacre of innocent lives to the handiwork of some criminal elements, however, charged the Federal Government and the security apparatus to urgently fish out perpetrators of the heinous crime and prosecute them.
The religious leader asked, “How is it possible for Fulani to attack settlements or communities to carry out killings of innocent people, destroy property and disappear without trace?
Sultan Abubakar III, said the Miyetti Allah was formed over 32 years to cater for welfare and advance the growth of Fulani business.
He said that any Fulani man carrying arms and ammunition is not a member of the Miyetti Allah, because the group which is now under his leadership as Grand Patron was never a criminal group.
Sultan Abubakar, who berated those calling for proscription of the group, challenged them to as well call for proscription of other Socio-ethnic organisations like the Afenifere, Ohanaeze ndi Igbo and Arewa Consultative Forum, among others.
He said, “Miyetti Allah doesn’t control any Fulani man. Calling for proscription of Miyetti Allah is equivalent to calling for the proscription of other ethnic organisations like Afenifere, ACF, Ohanaeze and others.
“It was formed 32 years ago and these crises were not there. I am the patron and we have never asked Fulani herdsman to kill anybody.
“Any Fulani man caught killing is a criminal and should be treated as such. What are the security agencies doing? If they have failed, they should accept that they have failed.
“What is going on is not an ethnic problem; it’s not a religious problem. It’s an economic problem.”
On the way out, the Sultan who advocated for dialogue, said, “What we need is to sit down and dialogue. As religious leaders, we have to be very careful with what we say, because it carries weight, our followers listen to us very seriously.
“We must believe in one another, trust and love ourselves because that is what our two major religions advocate. We must continue to speak with one voice. We should not be labelling everybody a criminal because his brother is a criminal.”
The royal father also added that, “People are say, label Miyetti Allah a terrorist group. No, we are not terrorists and can’t join terrorism.”
On the situation in Benue state, he recalled, “This thing didn’t start today, in the past eight years, I have been to Benue many times to discuss this issue.
“We had met for hours and agreements reached, yet nothing has been implemented. Why? The former governors of Benue are still alive and they know all these.
“Even the present governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom had written to me to come again with my peace mission, but we had not had the opportunity before this round of crisis.
“We must come to the bottom of this issue, how come these Fulani men are carrying guns without the security men knowing.
“I keep on repeating it, things are not okay, but they are not as bad as they are made to look especially in the social media. Let’s go round and speak to one another, not just staying in our comfort zones”, he said.