By Steve Oni, Ilorin
“We have problems in this country. Let’s not deceive ourselves; there is friction between Muslims and non Muslims”, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Saad Abubakar has said.
Giving the verdict at the opening of a two-day International Conference on Security and Peaceful Co-existence In Nigeria in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, the Sultan opined that the country’s problems are rooted in injustice which leads to bad governance
Acknowledging that the country has been having problems because of impunity, the Sultan said “the small percentage of criminals in our midst should, however, not be used to label all of us”, believing that with proper understanding, the problems are surmountable.
The foremost monarch said such problems shouldn’t have arisen, given the fact that over 90 percent of Nigerians are Muslims and Christians and they have a guide.
He said: “God did not make a mistake when he created us as Muslims and Christians and made us people of Nigeria”.
The Sultan who decried killing of innocent people in the name of religion, asked religious leaders to stop inciting people against one another through their preaching. He urged the government to do something about this, adding that anyone who hides under religion to kill innocent people should be sanctioned appropriately.
He added:” Among these two main religions there is no where I found that killing of innocent people is allowed.”
“What the terrorists are doing is anti- Islam and they (those killing innocent people in the name of Jihad) are going straight to hell for committing murder. We know what Islam says we should do and not do. We should understand the doctrine of our religion.
“We should move closer to one another to understand ourselves better. The number of Muslims killed by Boko Haram far outweighs that of Christians. Therefore, the Boko Haram cannot lay claim to being Muslims. In Islam life is sacred”.
On the southern Kaduna crisis, the Sultan expressed optimism that an enduring solution would be found to the problem at a meeting of Governors’ forum slated for Thursday.
While commending Kwara state government for organising the conference, the Sultan asked Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari and other governors on the outcome of the conference. He equally challenged participants at the conference” to come out with a model that will be useful to all parts of the country in crisis prevention and management”.
This, he said, becomes necessary because “there is no state in this country that is not facing a crisis.”
Declaring the conference open, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed noted that Nigeria is facing many security challenges, adding that the conference was designed to proffer solutions to the security challenges facing the country in all fronts.
He noted that the youths who formed the bulk of the nation’s population were disenchanted.
According to the governor, the nation was sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode if the problem of youth unemployment is not tackled.
He harped on the need for the stakeholders to address poverty as a way of reducing youths restiveness; and economic and security problems.