The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Jama’atul Nasir Islam, Sa’ad Abubakar lll, has stated that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) can not be labelled as a terrorist organisation.
The monarch said this on Thursday in Abuja at the 1st General Assembly of Inter-faith Dialogue forum with the theme, ‘Living together, achieving together,’ The Punch reports
While admitting that he is a patron of the MACBAN, the Sultan stressed that the group had no control over the Fulani herdsmen, whom he said were preoccupied with their animals in the bush.
Sultan Abubakar, who berated those calling for proscription of the group, challenged them to as well call for proscription of other Socio-ethnic organisations like the Afenifere, Ohanaeze ndi Igbo and Arewa Consultative Forum, among others.
He said, “We pray not to get to the level of Afghanistan where everybody is bearing arms, but you can’t label Miyetti Allah as a terrorist organisation. It has never sat down to discuss how to kill innocent people and take over their land. The Fulani (herdsmen) don’t care about electricity, roads or the government because they live in the bush.
“We refuse to accept that all Fulani are bad. The crisis in Benue is not a religious or ethnic problem but an economic one. It is a fight between herdsmen and farmers and unless the government takes it seriously, it may get out of hand.”
The Sultan also queried the competence of the security agencies and their inability to stop the attacks and killings by herdsmen in Benue State.
He stated that everything must be done to stop the ongoing loss of lives, warning religious and political leaders to avoid inflammatory utterances that could further worsen the situation.
“The killings must be stopped, they have gone too far. This is not the time to apportion blames, but to seek solutions. What are the security agencies doing and when will these killings stop? We must challenge the leaders with one voice, the issues must not be looked at with the prisms of religion or ethnicity,” Abubakar cautioned.