The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has rejected suggestions that there were plans to Islamise Nigeria.
The President-General of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, expressed worries why a controversy suddenly surfaced over alleged attempts by Muslims to force Islam on Christians by compelling students to learn Islamic religion in schools.
He spoke on Friday in Bauchi at a National Symposium and Launch of 2025 Vision by Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN).
He said: “When Umar Yar’adua was President, Christians and Muslims leaders wrote, asking him to make Islamic and Christian Religious Knowledge core and compulsory subjects in schools.
“When Goodluck Jonathan took over, we presented a paper making the same demand which was approved, but the then Minister of Education refused to implement it for reasons best known to him.’’
He also explained that the recent crisis in Mambilla Plateau, Taraba State, was not targeted at any tribe.
“The crisis was not planned by individuals or groups to eliminate any tribe; as an ex-military officer, I can only believe that the crisis was planned when I see a document to confirm that,” Abubakar said.
The Sultan decried the destruction during the violence, and prayed against a recurrence.
He said that he had met with some leaders in Taraba and cautioned them against playing politics with lives of the people.
“As leaders, we must study situations during any crisis before commenting. We must avoid comments that will worsen already bad situations,” he said.
He said that leaders must focus on putting out fire where there was one, and stressed the need to reach out to all stakeholders to restore normalcy.
He urged the government to bring culprits of the Mambilla violence to book, and warned against derogatory terms like Islamic fundamentalists or extremists, Fulani attackers, Berom or Mambilla terrorists.
“It is such derogatory terms that fuelled the crisis,” Abubakar declared.
He said that criminals should be treated as criminals without attributing such crimes to their tribe, religion or other inconsequential sentiments.
Abubakar urged residents of Mambilla Plateau to be at peace with each other, declaring that good would always triumph over evil.
He urged DCCN to propagate slam to non-Muslims in a non-combative manner.
“Tell people what Islam is; tell them why they should be Muslims and what difference it could make to their lives,” he said.
Earlier, the National President of DCCN, Mallam Muhammad Maidoki, said that the body comprised of 51 groups out to propagate Islam.
He called on Muslims to refrain from vices, and urged Nigeria’s leaders to allow Muslims to reside and practice their religion in any part of the country.
The Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Nuhu Gidado, in his speech, called for peaceful propagation of Islam in Nigeria.