The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has disowned a Fulani group which claims that the ethnic group owns Nigeria from Sokoto to the Atlantic, just as he categorically said no one can Islamise or Christianise Nigeria.
Speaking at that Interfaith Mediation Centre yesterday during the First Annual Plateau State Forgiveness and Reconciliation Day, the religious leader said it was a reckless statement because the late Usman Danfodio never said anything that related to such in his lifetime and books.
The event was in conjunction of Plateau State Peace Building Agency.
“I am the leader of Usman Danfodio dynasty. I have never seen where in the hundred books that Usman Danfodio said Nigeria belongs to the Fulani. What he wrote was the role of Islam in leadership, governance etc. He never mentioned of conquering any particular land or claimed ownership of any territory.
“People make comments that Jihad is to Islamise every country, but I said no; Danfodio never came to Islamise any country, he preached against bad government.
“That fake write-up was by those who don’t want peace in this country and we had denounced that. I am the national patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN). It has been in existence for 44 years. There are two other organisations that I know, but others I don’t know. Please verify from us before you put blame on us,” he said.
He pointed out that not all Fulani were involved in kidnapping, banditry and other crimes, adding that those ones behind all the atrocities were not members of MACBAN.
“They don’t belong to Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association; they are criminals. I don’t know why security agencies allow them to be who they are. It is the responsibility of the security agencies, not mine. There are Fulani criminals just as there are criminal elements among the Berom, Yoruba, Igbo and other tribes in the country. Let us stop name-calling.”
On the claim that there are subterranean moves to Islamise Nigeria, the Sultan said, “It is not possible for anybody to Islamise or Christianise Nigeria; 100 per cent impossible. But we still have leaders who use their privileged positions, either in the church or mosque, to say many bad things and nothing is done to them. They say things with impunity but never get punished.”
In his address, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong said his administration would continue to collaborate with security agencies in dealing with criminals, bad persons and groups that appear determined to cause havoc in the state as witnessed in the last killings in Mangu and Bokkos councils.
He said the duty of every good leader was to bridge the gap and reduce the factors that trigger mistrust, hatred and bigotry between different ethnic nationalities and religious adherents.
This can only be possible if there is genuine commitment to truth, justice and faithfulness to the oath of office and the country’s constitution, especially by those who are elected to serve everyone, he added.
“We must not always exploit the fault lines of politics, religion and ethnicity which can easily make us derail and create disharmony among the people. If we do justice to all, irrespective of differences, there will be peace and progress. Anything contrary will make us slide deeper into chaos.”