Respected Islamic cleric and Sultan of Sokoto Dr. Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar III has said that the present insecurity and other associated challenges tearing the northern region apart were caused by the region itself.
The traditional ruler said this while speaking in Kaduna at a meeting of the Northern Governors Peace and Reconciliation Committee. He noted that the problem of the north will remain the problem of the entire country, since the north could not be left with its problems alone.
The Sultan, who doubles as the president, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and president-general of the Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), disclosed that peace talk was the best way to resolve violence or conflicts.
He said that though traditional and religious leaders had played their own part, they should not relent on their effort until the challenges are brought under control.
The monarch, however, lamented it was so sad that the government was yet to address the issue of security challenges in the nation.
He said: “Let us sit and talk freely and articulate positions that will bring us out of the quagmire we put ourselves in, ” he said. “It is important that the religious and traditional rulers from our various states sit together so that each and every one of us will talk freely…”
The Sultan added that: “Whatever that is happening in the north is our own doing, because we did not do what we were supposed to do. And since we know that, we have to solve our problems ourselves. So, I think, it is not a bad idea that the committee was set up.
“We wrote a memo of about nine pages or thereabouts covering various issues affecting the country and the north in particular to the then acting president and now president Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan… it was at the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) where we suggested solutions to the problems.
“Northern Council of Traditional Rulers met and also articulated solutions to problems of the north to the northern governors, but we don’t know what happened to the recommendations at the various authorities.
“If our recommendations had been implemented, we would have been singing a different tune in handling the challenges.”
On the issue of trying to Islamize the country as insinuated in some quarters, the Sultan affirmed that it was impossible for anybody to Islamize or Christianize the country. “If anybody thinks he can Islamize or Christianize the country, he must be dreaming,” he stated, adding that politicians must have the fear of God in whatever they do: “If they want to solve the problem of this country they will, because they have the resources to do so.
“There is little religious leaders can do without the support of the constitutional right to do certain things, but we must always watch our utterances and in making comments you cannot substantiate.”
In his own remarks, John Cardinal Onaiyekan attributed the security challenges facing the north and the country in general to the high level of poverty in the country and the region in particular.
The meeting of the Northern Governors Peace and Reconciliation Committee was attended by the Sultan as well as the leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria