The monarch, who doubles as the President-General of the Nigerian Council for Islamic Affairs, called on the Federal Government to fish out the killer herdsmen stigmatising the Fulani ethnic group, noting that there are millions of Fulani in the country including him who are not herdsmen.
The Sultan made these remarks at the public presentation of a book, Dynamics of Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences in Abuja.
The book was written in honour of the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, where the Sultan was the Royal Father of the day.
The Sultan said Nigeria no longer have statesmen but men of state, adding that the government must find ways of getting things right in the country.
He said, “We have so many issues coming up in our polity today and I will just pick one. Nigeria is a country where we don’t celebrate innocent and honest people until after their death. After they are gone, you will now name universities, airports and other things after them.
“The issue of N36m being swallowed by a snake is a sad reality for our country. Where is our moral value; where is our ethics? The reality is that we must wake up from our sleep. Let us not fail further. Things are bad. Corruption is at a very high level and it is left for us to fight it to a terminal end.
“We cannot just sit down and think that things are okay. Things are not okay. We have to find ways of getting things right in this country. We cannot continue with these negative things. Nowadays and like I said recently in Rivers State, we don’t have statesmen; we have men of state.”
The Sultan said it was unfair to label all Fulani as killers, noting that criminality must not be mixed with ethnicity.
He said, “We don’t accept criminals in our midst. We must fish them (the killer herdsmen) out and deal with them. The worst word you can hear nowadays is the Fulani issue. There are millions of Fulani who don’t even know what a cow is. I am a Fulani and I am not a herder. I am a proud Fulani. But everyone believes that when you see a Fulani, he is a killer. It is not true. So, for anyone to label any particular ethnicity is wrong. Let’s give criminals their ideal name; not Christian criminals, not Fulani criminals, not Muslim criminals. If the government has failed, let them call us to come and help out.
“Uthman Dan Fodio founded the caliphate many years ago. He said conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it. We must take a negative inner feeling away from us. We must not allow our biases to prevail over truth.”
Speaking on the JAMB state officers being investigated for various cases of corruption, Oloyede said they had been asked to return the government’s money in their possession.
He said, “It is a continuous process. When anyone is found to be unable to account for whatever belongs to the government, our first duty is to ask the person to refund. If the person refunds honourably, there will be little or no need to go further. But if they refuse, we will take a necessary step of calling on the security agencies to recover whatever belongs to the government.
“But we know that there are many honourable people that even when they make mistakes, they are ready to rectify them. For these people, there is no problem.”