John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammad Saâ€™ad Abubakar III, said that as a fulani leader, he will never encourage fulanis to take up arms against anyone.
Apparently reacting to the criticisms that trailed his comments on the killing of scores of fulanis in Numan, Adamawa State on November 25, Abubakar who spoke in Kaduna at the meeting of Northern Traditional Rulers ( NTC), said he had always maintained that those behind the killings of innocent Nigerians are criminals.
Represented by the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, at the commissioning of a radio station in Yola, owned by the Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo, the sultan while condemning the killings, was quoted to have warned against misconstruing the â€œpatience (of the fulanis) for weaknessâ€
â€œI hope, we would not make that mistake this time; what happened in Numan would not go unpunished,â€ he was quoted to have said.
However, in his address at the Kaduna meeting, the sultan said: â€œAs a fulani leader, I am the leader of fulanis in this country and in the West African sub-region, I live with so many people and I know their problems and I will never call on any fulani to pick up arms to kill anybody.
â€œI have said it so many times at so many fora, those people picking up arms killing people are criminals and whoever you are, whether you are Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba or Fulani, you have no right to take up arms and kill anybody.
â€œIf you see such thing happening, then there must be a failure of government , but if government wakeup to their responsibility, some of these things will not happen.
â€œWe keep on calling on everyone to please maintain peace and allow the constituted authority to take up this issues and we will continue to put pressure on them, until they continue to find solution to this dastardly actâ€.
Speaking further at the meeting which was attended by some traditional rulers from the south, the sultan said the meeting aimed at discussing the killing of innocent Nigerians, particularly the clashes between fulani herdsmen and farmers across the country as well as the various irresponsible killing of innocent women and children, which people donâ€™t want to talk about.
â€œWe donâ€™t have any power to force anybody to implement anything, but as royal fathers, as religious leaders, we can recommend certain things, we can advise, because leadership is not a monopoly of one individual group or society, itâ€™s a responsibility of all, both the lead and those leading.
â€œAnd people must listen to those that are leading so that we all could be on the same page, as we are struggling to build our great country Nigeria ,where, no man is oppressed.
â€œI will like our brothers from the south to tell us things that you are not comfortable with, that are being done in this part of the country, (North) because all of you here have representatives of your various community living with us here.
â€œTell us what you think we should do to make life better for everybody, as we will tell you too what to do to make life better for our people living with you, because we are great family and we will continue to extend that hand of love to everybody, irrespective of tribe or religion, irrespective of political party lineageâ€ he said.
He called on the governors â€œnever to keep away those things from their table, we cannot keep such things under the carpet, because if we do that, we are encouraging more of such dastardly act to be carried out by others.â€
He said â€œOur political leaders must take the responsibility up and help us out so that we have peaceâ€ stressing that â€œwithout justice, there wonâ€™t be peace.â€
He said the issues will be â€œdiscussed amicably in public in a manner that when comments are made publicly, they are not misconstrued to be people calling for war or instability in the country.
â€œWhen we make such comments, it is to alert our political leaders of their responsibilities of what they should do.
â€œWhen we donâ€™t do that, almighty God will ask us on the day of judgement, thatâ€™s why we keep on talking about this and will never call on anybody to take up armsâ€.
The sultan further lamented the increasing rate of drug abuse among women and youths, a menace, which he noted was getting out of hand.
He said â€œthe abuse of drugs by women and youths is a very serious issue, we will discuss that and other insecurity issues affecting this country.
â€œWe will also discuss issue on IDPs, because, I was told about a survey which says there are about 50 thousand orphans in each camps. Children who donâ€™t know who their parents are. If we allow those children to grow up in IDP camps without knowing who their parents are, then we have a big problem in our hands.