The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and the FCT has rallied round Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah who in his Christmas message accused President Muhammadu Buhari of sacrificing the dreams of Nigerians to institutionalise a northern hegemony.
Kukah who also said there was no way any none-northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what the President has done in the area of nepotism and gotten away with it said, “there would have been a military coup a long time ago, we would have been at war.”
His statement has been described by the Presidency as an attempt to struck the embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity while the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described Kukah’s statement as “reckless, inflammatory and unguarded.”
However, in its reaction, northern CAN through its Vice Chairman, Rev. John Hayab stated that it read with great shock attempts to further divide the nation by the Presidency, the leadership of MURIC and other individuals and groups aimed at twisting the crux of the homily Bishop Kukah gave at Christmas.
The statement added that: “Of grave misgiving is the baseless claim in a statement signed by the President of MURIC, Prof Ishaq Akintola, that Bishop Kukah had “referred to Islam as a violent religion” and “calls for a coup. That such a statement coming from Prof Akintola is not only laughable but misleading and tissue of lies.”
It described MURIC’s response as misleading and inciting and called on the international as well as the local community to particularly counsel Prof Akintola of MURIC to learn to walk the path of honour and not be a merchant of crisis.
“Reading through Bishop Kukah’s “A Nation In Search of Vindication” CAN is unable to find any expression suggesting an affront to Islam or a call for a coup. Sadly, MURIC aims to incite citizens against one another along the lines of faith instead of denouncing the insecurity witnessed across the country which is the point Bishop Kukah’s message. From the east to the south, west and all over the north, travelling has become a nightmare while hapless people are dragged from their homes for ransom,” it stated.
Hayab stated that the memory of the gruesome killings of 76 farmers in Borno State and the abduction of the Kankara boys remains fresh and accused MURIC of keeping silent in those tragedies.
“Now from the blues as Bishop Kukah talked the truth to power, we read unscrupulous statements aimed at painting black a message that was clear and concise alerting the government of its failure on the security of lives and property of Nigerians,” he stated.
“Given the current happenings in Nigeria with kidnapping, banditry, horrible atrocities committed against hapless citizens by members Boko Haram, Nigerians should be united in condemning and finding solutions to the awful condition that we are in as Bishop Kukah has rightly done.
For those castigating the referred cleric, we would call them by name – they are sectional zealots who only see the trouble in Nigeria from their primordial views.”
It called on the Presidency, MURIC, and other individuals to eschew intolerance and admit that Nigeria under Buhari has strayed from the path and vision that the independence of this great country was fought for and won.
“Let the government do the right thing by creating a sense of inclusion for all sundry, defending the citizens from harm, bringing an end to the growing insecurity in towns, cities, and villages that we could attain greatness together,” it stated.