Fulanis are not responsible for killings –Sultan


The Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Saad Abubakar has declared that the Fulani were not responsible for the spate of gruesome killings across the country.
He spoke against recent clashes between suspected Fulani herdsmen and host communities which has led to loss of lives and property in several places including the South East.



Sultan Abubakar who noted that Fulani would not kill, however, said culprits should be singled out and punished, whether Fulani or Igbo.
The Sultan who was in Enugu as special guest of the state government, honoured players and officials of Rangers International for emerging 2015 Nigeria Professional League champions.
He said he started his career as a soldier in Enugu about 39 years ago and was a fan of Rangers FC.
Saad Abubakar who called for love and peaceful co-existence between herdsmen and host communities said if anyone committed a crime, such person should be identified as a criminal and made to face the full weight of the law.
“Such a person is a criminal and must be so identified, whether he is a Fulani or an Igbo. Unless we identify them, we cannot overcome this menace.
“We have lived with Fulani for many years, many of them don’t know anywhere except Igboland for centuries. Is it possible that these same people will take up arms against the same people they have lived with?
“It’s the duty of all of us to fish out these criminals; it’s our duty to get these criminals and make them face the law.
“I will not support the taking of life because, as Muslims, we know what the Almighty Allah says about killing of a single soul unjustly, that is, without recourse to law.
“If you kill another, you are supposed to be killed but not through jungle justice. You must be sentenced to death before you are killed.
“For anyone to kill in the name of religion is wrong because no religion teaches that.
“To know that a problem exists is part of the solution, the second is to gather as one people and tackle these challenges.
“There are many good people around and few bad ones. We must not allow the few bad ones to continue to spoil our relationship. I have always known that in my years at Nsukka where I spent about four years going round the country as a military man.
“Let us sift out the herdsmen that are killing people and deal with them, even if the person is my brother, he won’t go scot-free. But I assure you that my brothers, the Fulani would not do this.”
On the issue of Boko Haram, he said: “I want to tell you categorically and sincerely that many more Muslims have died in the insurgency than non-Muslims, so, it’s not an issue of religion. I have heard comments of how herdsmen have been invading South-East and South-South to islamise people; you don’t islamise somebody by killing him. You islamise people by having good relationship with them.
“Even the Holy Koran says there is no compulsion in religion. So, if anybody wants to force you into Islam tell him no, that you are not a Muslim. Anyone who wants to force you into a religion is not following the tenets of islam. Ask any Muslim cleric, he will tell you.”
He identified extremism as part of the problem.
“We must take extremism out of us; and when I say extremism, it’s not only about Muslims; there are extremist Muslims, Hindus, Jews and extremist Christians; there is extremism in all religions.
“So, let’s not spoil the relationship existing between us for centuries, for decades. Let’s show love because you cannot be a good Muslim if you don’t love your neighbour as yourself, the same for a good Christian. If these two major religions teach this, why are we fighting?
“I have heard stories of President Muhammadu Buhari doing this and that, and I want to assure you that what people are saying is not what he is thinking, I have spoken to him severally.
“Politicians, please stop using religion to divide us; stop using ethnicity to divide our country.
“The country is so beautiful and there is so much for everybody and God did not make mistake by bringing us together as a country.”
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi who showered the Rangers International players and officials with cash rewards and plots of land, identified sports as an area that offers tremendous opportunities for economic growth, empowerment, poverty alleviation, employment generation as well as progressive youth and social development.
“Unfortunately, like some other sectors of the economy, the goldmine has remained largely untapped in Nigeria due to over dependence on easy money from oil.
“As a government, we have resolved to restore the legacy of Enugu State as the breeding ground for sporting talents in Nigeria, and also reap in full the benefits that sports and sports tourism are capable of bringing to the state,” he declared.

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