The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III yesterday stated unequivocally that past leaders from the north fought and brought about very cohesive north that was never divided, stressing that the unity and cohesiveness of the north is non-negotiable.
In the same vien, the Sultan has reiterated his stand on killer herdsmen when he again urged the federal government to prosecute killer Fulani herdsmen, saying such herdsmen are nothing but criminals and must be treated as such.
The Sultan who is also of Fulani extraction, said Nigerians must stop mistaking the devilish act of the killer herdsmen as acting the script of the Fulani community or Muslim community in Nigeria or an attempt to islamise nigeria as being insinuated by some.
The Sultan stated this in Kaduna at the opening ceremony of the 2-Day Annual Pan-Northern Groups Summit on Security, Socio-economic and political development.
“Past leaders brought about a very cohesive north that was never divided, the unity and cohesiveness of the non-negotiable.
“Nigeria is developed because north is part of it, if you develop the north, half of Nigeria is developed and Nigeria will be better for it.
“Northern Elders Forum must reach out to other elders across board and re-enact the brotherhood of time past and fight a common front and discuss issues of national development.
“We have what it takes in the north, we are only being lazy because we don’t want to work, our governors should focus on infrastructural development in the north.” On the herdsmen/farmers clashes, the Sultan said, the clashes between farmers and herdsmen are purely economic clashes and not ethno-religious as speculated in some quarters.
“There are very terrible herdsmen who kill. But they are acting on their own, they are criminals and they must be treated as criminals. Therefore the federal government should prosecute them.
“It is disheartening to hear when people say Fulani herdsmen want to Islamize Nigeria and that is why they are killing. Any Fulani herdsman who kills is not acting the script of Fulani community in Nigeria, neither is he working for the Muslim community,” he said.
Speaking on the state of Northern Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto said, unity of Northern Nigeria is non-negotiable if the region must develop and have a common front.
He lamented that, the North of today was not the North that Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello left behind, adding that, there is ethnic awareness among northerners now, than ever before.
According to him, “There is more ethnic awareness now than ever before. The question is why the sudden consciousness in ethnicity and religion?
“I will not attempt to provide answer to this question, but, we must therefore strive to re-unite the North, only then, we can have a common front and build a united and cohesive North,” he said.
On state of infrastructural decay in the north, Sultan charged Northern Governors to pay attention to infrastructure, especially roads.
He said, Governors should build roads, instead of using N28bn to build airport, adding that, common people will feel their impact more on roads than building airport.