Sultan Exonerates Miyetti Allah From killings In Benue
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) is not responsible for the wave of killings by herdsmen across the country, according to the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III.
The leader faulted calls for the proscription of the group and condemned the killings in Taraba, Benue and other states of the federation.
MACBAN had been in the eye of the storm over massacres by herdsmen, with many Nigerians accusing the group of culpability.
At the first General Assembly of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace in Abuja, yesterday, the Sultan argued that Miyetti Allah had existed purely as a business organisation for more than 32 years, and that a call for its ban was equivalent to demanding the proscription of Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other socio-cultural organisations.
“Anyone carrying arms is not one of us,” he said, urging the Federal Government to go after perpetrators of the killings.
“There are criminal elements in every organisation,” the sultan said, adding: “We will never condone anybody taking up arms to kill innocent citizens. We will never be a part of it, whether it is a Fulani cattle herder, farmer or anybody trying to place himself at a strategic position as we move towards the 2019 general elections.
“The Fulani we know, since we were children, never went about with weapons. Where do these get weapons? How is it possible that they attack villages and disappear without being traced? What are the security agencies doing? We must get to the bottom of this problem”
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, expressed hope that the forum would help to douse tension in the polity. He stressed the need for sincerity among religious leaders.
The Catholic Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, called for the building of trust among religions. “We need to know that we are in the same boat on a turbulent sea. If we continue to fight in the boat, it will sink,” he warned.