SULTAN of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has called for an end to the stigmatisation of Fulanis saying that all those engaged in kidnapping in southwest Nigeria are doing it in collusion with local Yoruba criminals.
Over recent months, there has been a huge upsurge in incidences of kidnapping in the southwest geo-political zone, with the crimes mainly being carried out by Fulani cattle herdsmen. Of late, the Fulani’s have stepped up armed attacks, banditry, kidnapping and criminal activities across Nigeria and there have been calls for the government to address the crisis.
President Buhari has come in for fierce criticism for turning a blind eye to the menace because he is an ethnic Fulani himself and keeps cattle. He has been accused of being reluctant to tackle the Fulanis because they are his kinsmen and he cannot bring himself to use the security forces against them.
Responding to the crisis, Sultan Abubakar, the spiritual leader of the Fulani, said those behind kidnapping and criminal activities in the southwest are not acting alone. He added that those engaging in criminal activities in the southwest could not operate successfully without the collaboration of the natives and local people.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Sheikh Idress Faazazi Morgaji Central Mosque in Iwo, Osun State over the weekend, the monarch charged Nigerians to stop blaming a particular ethnic group for the insecurity challenges facing the country. Represented by Professor Dawud Noibl, the executive secretary of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria, the sultan said rather than blame a tribe, every Nigerian should be patriotic to correct things that were wrong in the society.
Sultan Abubakar said: “It is important for us to be courageous and expose those behind unlawful and criminal activities in the society. Some people in Yorubaland must surely cooperate with those involving in kidnapping and others social vices to succeed.
“Foreign criminals don’t know how to move around without the assistance of the insider and they are given accommodation and they are also supplied food. Some Yoruba people must be giving the evil perpetrators the moral support to describe the area where the families of victims can pick them after collecting their ransom.”
Stressing that mosques were owned by Allah, the sultan urged Muslims to pray together without any form of discrimination, irrespective of colour, tribe or nationality. He said: “The Prophet Muhammad has told us that whoever builds a mosque on earth for worship of Allah, Allah will build a house for he or she in paradise.
“It is a reminder for us that we should not focus only on earthly materials. We should also prepare for our end in the above after which we go to paradise.”