Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto, has expressed concerns over the allegations that the current administration is pursuing an Islamic agenda.
Speaking in Kaduna during a two-day summit organised by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), the monarch said he was worried that people who were supposed to be elder statesmen were busy making provocative comments.
“I am always worried when Nigerians who are supposed to be elder statesmen make provocative comments about this government trying to Islamise Nigeria,” he said.
“I keep on asking, how? How do you Islamise a country like Nigeria that is probably 80 million Muslims, but we agreed that we are 50-50.
“Are you going to invite America? Somebody so naive even said the visit of the US Secretary of State was to strengthen the Islamisation of programme of the leadership of the country.
“So, people should stop making this noise about Islamisation and herdsmen being used to Islamise the country and so many negative things.”
He admitted that the herdsmen crisis was a challenge, but spoke on personal steps that he had made to bring about peace.
Abubakar advised the people to concentrate on finding solutions to problems rather than exploiting situations.
“If there are problems, of course there are, like the issue of herds men, there are very terrible herdsmen,” he said.
“The problem with herdsmen and farmers is purely about the economy. The herdsman wants food for his cattle, the farmer wants his farm produce to feed his family.
“We have tried to broker peace with Fulanis and Tivs in Nasarawa and Benue states. I have been to Makurdi four times for such meetings.
“There are things that have been wrong with us as northerners, as leaders, as Christians, as Muslims. It’s a big problem for all of us and we are very worried that things like this are happening.”
He also raised the alarm on the situation in the north-east, drawing the attention of the authorities to the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
He commended the Borno state government for its efforts in addressing the crisis, and called on northern governors to join hands in rebuilding the region.
“The issue of internally displaced people in the north-east, it seems that all of us have forgotten about them,” he said.
“We must not abandon our brothers there. Billions of naira had been budgeted for them. Almost N100 billion was collected for the victims support fund by the former government, where is that money? Gen. Danjuma is the chairman of that fund.
“Our northern governors should come together and help to rebuild the north east; it is not the governor of Borno alone that can do it.
“The camps are so bad, people are suffering. If nothing is done in the next few months, over 50,000 children will die. We don’t want that to happen because almighty Allah will ask us what have we done as leaders.”
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