Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, has provided reasons for the attacks, killings and destruction of property in Benue, Taraba and other states in Nigeria by suspected herdsmen.
He urged Nigerians to eschew hatred, conflicts, suspicion and imputation of motive to attract national development.
Oloyede, who is also the Secretary General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), made the plea at the first Ramadan lecture of the Point Newspapers held at LTV 8 Agidingbi, Lagos.
Theme of the lecture is: “Achieving Peace, Stability and Good Governance in a Multi-Ethnic and Multi-Religious Society: The Islamic Perspective.”
The professor said the age-long conflict between the Tiv and the Fulani is as bad as it is being aggravated by political and religious bigots, assisted by irresponsible media.
“If not for political expediency, the sociology of Tiv-Fulani relations and linguistic dynamics of asking ‘where are my cows by Fulani man and the response of I have eaten it by a Tiv man would have resonated a long history of such inter-group relations.
“But, where desperate politicians seek relevance, any straw can be held on to gain cheap political points. Nigerians should not fall for the propaganda, whether from the politicians or from religious bodies.
“A deep reflection of what is being presented as a new clash would have shown that it is a conflict that is as old as Nigeria.
“The colonial masters created grazing routes, forest reserves and mediating teams to address the economic and social friction between the Tiv-farmers and the roving herdsmen,” he said.
Speaking on the recent killings, he urged Nigerians to emulate the call by the Catholic Bishops on the government to take more drastic measures in addressing the killings in Benue and other places in Nigeria.
“On the issue of Christians being killed by herdsmen, the truth remains that more Christians, like their Muslim counterparts, were killed by Boko Haram, no religious body held the former president responsible.
“In spite of the alleged conspiracy theory that Boko Haram was an economic venture of some of public officers, the NSCIA did not accuse the former president as being sponsors.
“Does it not smack if religious bigotry and undisguised wickedness that President Muhammadu Buhari is being directly targeted by the zealots?,” he asked.