The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alh Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar IIl, has renewed the call for the federal government to dialogue with the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
He made the call yesterday in Abuja during the 7th Annual National Conference of Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) with the theme “Rule of Law and Social Justice: A Panacea for Unity and National Development”.
The Sultan’s call is coming on the heels of government’s rejection of dialogue with the Boko Haram sect over the abduction of over 200 school girls.
However, the Sultan believes the country should negotiate with the insurgents as the war against insurgency cannot be won with force, citing the case of the American soldier who was released in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders, who had been detained in Guantanamo for years.
The monarch said, “It amuses me when people say you don’t dialogue with criminals. You cannot fight criminals because you don’t even know where they are.
“About two weeks ago, the US government exchanged one prisoner who was even a deserter for very senior five al-Qaeda leaders who had been in Guantanamo prison for years.
“They kept dialoguing with them for five years. For them to exchange him, they must have been talking. There is need for dialogue. You cannot win any insurgency by way of force. There is nowhere in the world that that works”.
He also advised the Federal Government to carry out relevant checks on people suspected to be Boko Haram members locked up in prisons because some of them may be innocent.
He said, “When somebody tells you that he is not a Boko Haram, please take it that he is not because if he is Boko Haram he will never denounce it.
“So if you have one out of 100 of them who say he is not Boko Haram please release him. The other 99 will say ‘yes we are, what can you do to us? It is important for us as leaders, especially as Muslims to look at these issues in a broader perspective. Let us not just be opinionated because we must reach out to everybody”.
The Sultan urged the Federal Government and Nigerians to approach the issue of insurgency with utmost care to avoid another civil war in the country.
He said, “Muslim lawyers should do whatever it takes to ensure no civil war ever takes place in Nigeria again because we know its adverse effects”.
“As leaders at all levels, as Muslim leaders, we must keep on telling the government what they are doing rightly or wrongly because we need a society that will meet the challenges of the present day insecurity in our country”.
Abubakar also allayed the fears of adherents of other religions in the country as he declared that “no group or individual could Islamise Nigeria”.
He advised them not to be afraid of the inclusion of Sharia in the country’s constitution, just as he stressed that Muslims were not out to force anyone to embrace Islam.