The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, on Friday said the Nigerian elites have failed the country by not addressing the insecurity ravaging parts of the nation, leading to bloodbaths.
The president-general of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs was speaking at the second ‘Plateau State Forgiveness and Reconciliation Day’.
The day, held in commemoration of victims of past violent crises in the state was held at the Forgiveness Garden on Friday in Jos.
The Plateau Peace Building Agency, in partnership with the Interfaith Mediation Center Kaduna, had in 2019 initiated efforts at reconciling aggrieved parties, which led Governor Simon Lalong to declare every February 7 a public holiday in the state.
Sultan Abubakar said: “I attach so much importance to this type of programme.”
According to him, ”the inundation of insecurity in the country was the consequences of elitist breakdown.”
“Our elites have failed us, they didn’t lead us very well,” he said. “We are very worried about the level of insecurity in Nigeria, but we are more worried about our homes, the North.”
Mr Abubakar exhorted people to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness, adding that ”if as people that always offended God, then kneel down to beg Him for forgiveness, which He forgives, then who are we not to forgive.”
“Preach forgiveness and acts forgiveness, because it is difficult for someone to say he has forgiven and it is another thing for him to act,” he added.
The Sultan congratulated Governor Lalong, for his concern and initiative.
Mr Lalong said, ”On a day like this, it is expected that people will soberly reflect to forgive one another and seek reconciliation of the bad things of the past.”
“As we mark the second annual Forgiveness Day, we are conscious of the efforts that have been put in to ensure that our people live in peace and harmony, as well as find a new narrative that does not only prevent conflict but also encourage dialogue and reconciliation,” he said.
Mr Lalong urged the people ”to be more hopeful, though the losses are huge and unquantifiable.”
“At the end of last year, we flagged off the permanent resettlement of IDPs (displaced persons) to their ancestral lands and we are continuing. Last month, I met with the minister of humanitarian affairs in Abuja to solicit for more assistance to enable them to settle back seamlessly to their ancestral lands,” he added.