The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), have called on President Muhammadu Buhari  to immediately deploy all the security apparatus at his disposal and arrest the current carnage  in the Middle-Belt  Region of the country, manifesting as herders-farmers’ clashes.

Speaking at the second edition of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) in Abuja, yesterday, Abubakar, enjoined all Nigerians especially religious leaders to toe the path of peace.

He said the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), was not a terrorist group, arguing that calling for its proscription, was equivalent to calling for the abolition of other ethnic organisations like the Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.  

The Sultan described Miyetti Allah as an organisation of Fulani people concerned with their business interest, noting that he as the patron of the 32-year-old association he would not subscribe to violence or killing of anybody, irrespective of the religion or tribe.

“This is not time to apportion blames because the women and children killed will never come back even if we shout in the media till thy kingdom come; the killings must stop now. What we owe these people that have been killed is for the killings to stop.

“Miyetti Allah doesn’t control any Fulani man. Somebody said the other day that the association should be proscribed. But calling for proscription of Miyetti Allah is equivalent to calling for the proscription of other ethnic organisations like Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.  

“It was formed 32 years ago and these crises were not there.  I am the patron and we have never asked Fulani herdsmen to kill anybody.

“Any Fulani man caught killing is a criminal and should be treated as such. What are the security agencies doing? If they have failed, they should accept that they have failed,” the monarch stated.

He said the issue at hand was neither ethnic nor religious, but actually an economic problem, noting that the solution was for the various leaders to sit down and dialogue.

The Sultan continued: “As religious leaders, we have to be very careful with what we say; because it carries weight, our followers listen to us very seriously.

“We must believe in one another, trust and love ourselves because that is what our two major religions preach. We must continue to speak with one voice.

“We should not be labelling everybody a criminal because his brother is a criminal.  People are saying; label Miyetti Allah a terrorist group.  No, we are not terrorists and can’t join terrorism.

“This thing didn’t start today, in the past eight years, I have been to Benue many times to discuss this issue.  We had met for hours and agreements reached, yet nothing has been implemented.  Why?

“The former governors of Benue and Nasarawa are still alive, they know all these. Even the present governor of Benue had written to me to come again with my peace mission, but we had not had the opportunity before this round of crisis.

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