Sa’adAbubakar, Sultan of Sokoto while speaking at the 1st General Assembly of Inter-faith Dialogue forum said that the herdsmen crisis in Benue state has been born out of an economic deficit rather than a religious or ethnic one.
The Sultan who is also President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs explained that the herdsmen cannot be tagged a terrorist group because as patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) he can authoritatively say there have been no meetings on how to take innocent lives.
Disassociating himself and the MACBAN from the herdsmen perpetuating killings, the Sultan said they have no control over the ones who live in the bush.
“We pray not to get to the level of Afghanistan where everybody is bearing arms, but you can’t label Miyetti Allah as a terrorist organisation. It has never sat down to discuss how to kill innocent people and take over their land. The Fulani (herdsmen) don’t care about electricity, roads or the government because they live in the bush”.
“We refuse to accept that all Fulani are bad. The crisis in Benue is not a religious or ethnic problem but an economic one. It is a fight between herdsmen and farmers and unless the government takes it seriously, it may get out of hand”.
“The killings must be stopped, they have gone too far. This is not the time to apportion blames, but to seek solutions. What are the security agencies doing and when will these killings stop? We must challenge the leaders with one voice, the issues must not be looked at with the prisms of religion or ethnicity”.