The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has finally raised the alarm over what he described as “politically-motivated” Southern Kaduna killings, which he stated had turned into a worrisome ethno-religious conflict.
Most northern leaders in Nigeria have been observing unholy silence over the killings in the north with most attacks target at Christians. A few that have spoken up in the past were persecuted and harassed by state owned security agencies while the government malign such people as government opposition.
But, as the deplorable and needless bloodletting continue with Nigeria’s security agencies unable to control the spate, the Sultan of Sokoto is now worried just as he has also condemned the inflammatory remarks by some leaders of thought in the country.
In a statement issued on his behalf by JNI’s Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, he stated: “We strongly believe that the politically-driven crisis is being deliberately turned into an ethno-religious conflict of worrisome dimension. Thus, we call for restraint from all parties. It should however be noted that ethno-religious conflict isn’t easily manageable, hence we must all rise to the occasion to forestall its recurrence in Kaduna State. It is often said that a stitch in time saves nine,” Abubakar appealed.
The Sultan went on to add that, “We have nonetheless observed with dismay the unguarded utterances of some citizens, including elder statesmen, who through the print, electronic and social media are serving as conflict entrepreneurs in the already worsened situation. All hope should not be lost in tackling the matter. Government should do more, and whosoever is found wanting, should be brought to book. Nigerians are tired of the lingering crisis in Southern Kaduna, and by extension, the entire country.”
The worried Sultan continued, “Government must do everything possible to bring the fracas to an end and change the narrative of violence to that of peace. It is time the culprits are identified and punished to serve as deterrent. It is hardly imaginable that such dastardly acts could still re-occur in Kaduna State despite several efforts to bring peace and harmony through the good works of the Kaduna Peace Commission and the International Centre for Interfaith Peace and Harmony (ICIPH), hosted in Kaduna, in collaboration with the JNI national headquarters and the Christian Council of Nigeria which the Executive Governor of Kaduna State personally commissioned sometimes in August in 2016.
“Hence, JNI is seriously perturbed by such re-occurrences, knowing that the JNI national headquarters is located in Kaduna State. It is very clear that some interest groups cried wolf more than the bereaved in the present circumstance, thus the need for government to act quickly before they exacerbate the already precarious situation to jeopardise frantic efforts at restoring law and order through dialogue with all relevant stakeholders in the state.”
He added: “The ICIPH, which has its head office in Kaduna with the Sultan of Sokoto co-chairing it, is ever ready to partner with the Kaduna State government in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.”
Commiserating with the families of the victims, the Sultan counselled that “we must not however relent in fervent prayers to Allah for an end to the too many bloodbaths in Nigeria”, just as he called on the tree tiers of government and security agencies to be more decisive with the insecurity in the land for sustainable development.