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By: Ade Adeleke
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has cautioned against tagging some ethnic groups in the country as criminals.
The revered Monarch noted that Nigerians must desist from doing so as “there are criminals in every ethnic group.”
Sultan spoke on Monday at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, while delivering the 2019 edition of the Ulefunta Festival Public Lecture titled, “Our Diversity, A Divine Gift And Blessing Untapped: Surmounting The Challenges Of The Management Of Diversity.”
The Ulefunta festival lecture is being used to mark the end of annual leave of the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi.
Abubakar cited activities of herdsmen in the North as having attracted negative comments from all over the country and beyond with some analysts claiming that the Fulani ethnic group was largely responsible for the crimes.
While denouncing what he described as the criminalisation of ethnicity among Nigerians, the Sultan said this would not bear anyone in the country any good, just as he advocated that the nation should avoid it.
The Sultan called on Nigerians to respect and work for how ethnic diversity of the nation is managed for her greatness.
He explained that many countries across the world had used their ethnic diversity to improve their people’s welfare, pointing out that the nation’s diversity should be seen as a blessing rather than a curse.
He enjoined religious and political leaders to join hands in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Abubakar decried the upsurge of criminality in the country, and called on Nigerians to come together to fight the menace.
“Diversity is not a problem, it is an asset. It is a divine gift, a blessing indeed. For every gift, we should give thanks. We should celebrate our diversity.”
“What remains for us is to focus on our diversity. The lesson here is to cherish our diversity.”
Also, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Micheal Ade-Ojo, observed that the country had been facing various security challenges in recent times, and implored Nigerians to come together to end the problems.
Speaking at the lecture, the Deji of Akure kingdom, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi said the festival was not a fetish gathering but an opportunity to celebrate annual 7days traditional leave of the Akure monarch.
Also speaking at the lecture, the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, urged Nigerians to look beyond their religious differences and prioritise the unity of Nigeria.