The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar has urged Christian leaders to think twice before making comments that could make terrorists win their war against the Nigerian state.
He made the plea while addressing resident communities, heads of security agencies, religious leaders, and journalists during a Ramadan breakfast dinner held at his palace on Monday.
The monarch was reacting to the publication credited to some Christian leaders that "if Leah Sharibu dies in the hand of Boko Haram, there will going to be a religious war in the country" which he described as very unfair as terrorism has no religion or ethnicity.
The Sultan asked "How could that be? Did the Muslims connive with Boko Haram to abduct the girls and release others? No."
“For them to now make that comment that if she dies in the hand of Boko Haram there will be a religious war is very unfair. How could you start attacking Muslims because this innocent girl happened to be a victim of murderous terrorists? It means they (Boko Haram) are winning the war because that is what they want,” he said.
He added"If they hear about this and went and kill the innocent girl that means you are part and parcel of what makes them do that because they want to cause confusion in the country. We are all praying for her safe return and for the safety of every Nigerian irrespective of his or her religion.”
According to him, more Muslims were killed by Boko Haram than the Christians, noting that even the former President Goodluck Jonathan testified to this.
Sultan, who said he was reacting on behalf of the entire Nigerian Muslims, further tasked the media to save this country, saying some of their reports were inimical to the peace and unity of the nation.
He maintained that some media including social media post unverified reports and gory pictures which have been raising tension in the country.
He cited one picture of Fulani herdsmen holding G4 rifle used by some media organizations to portray attacks on innocent Nigerians as uncalled for because the picture, according to him, was that of herders in the Central Africa Republic which was in existence for over 20 years.
"There is no G4 rifle because it had been wiped away for long. That picture used particularly by the Channels TV was that of Herders in Central Africa who were being terrorised by rustlers because cattle rustling started in their country long before coming to Nigeria," he added.
He, however, threatened to denounce his fellowship of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in protest against misleading and unverified stories aired or published by their members.
The President General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, however, said that the crises between Fulanis and farmers were purely economic but being hijacked by some criminal elements.
He reiterated that those killing innocent people, especially in the Middle Belt were criminals who should be arrested and punished.
"But don't arrest or kill innocent Fulani men just like what had happened in Benue State when innocent Fulanis who were on transit were stopped and killed by some residents of the state," he cautioned
The Sultan expressed fear that the killings could continue because some politicians would want to use it to have an edge over their political opponents.
He called on Nigerians to expose criminals in their midst, even if they are their fathers.
“We should all see ourselves as security personnel. Let's not leave them alone. Don't hide criminal even if they are your fathers. Because too much blood had been shed and this is why God is angry with us."
"I believe there are more good people than the bad ones. Let the good come together and defeat the bad ones. We have done that while fighting malaria and we can do it again," he said
He also advocated for more effective tools and welfare for our security agents which he said were working round the clock to restore peace in the country.
The royal father who commended the federal government for banning codeine, however, advocated for a law that would make illicit drugs dealers and peddlers serve a life sentence.