The Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar has stated that the Benue crisis is not a religious or ethnic problem, but an economic one, adding that Nigerians should not write off the Fulani people because of Fulani herdsmen.
He said this while speaking on the theme of “Living Together, Achieving Together,” at the 1st General Assembly of Inter-faith Dialogue forum.
The Sultan, who is the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, admitted that he is indeed the patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
The group, however, has no control over the herdsmen in the bush, he said, adding that the crisis in Benue is not religious or ethnic, but an economic one between farmers and herders. He said:
“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.”
He charged security agencies in the nation to put an end to the killings whichever way they can.
The killings must be stopped, the Sultan said, and the issues must not be looked at through the prism of religion and ethnicity. He said:
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.