XMAS MESSAGE: MURIC Condemns Kukah, as CAN Exposes MURIC’s ‘Hypocrisy’
Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s Christmas message in which he described Nigeria as heading for a failed state status under President Muhammadu Buhari has attracted differing reactions.
The presidency’s reaction was that the cleric was trying to cause disaffection among Nigerians by appealing to regional sentiments.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) said the cleric statement was “reckless, inflammatory and unguarded”, while the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) reacted that MURIC was hypocritical for its silence over the state of insecurity in the country all along.
MURIC’s Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said in a statement on Sunday that Kukah was by his statement referring to Islam as a violent religion.
“We are shocked to our marrows by the vitriolic attack launched by Kukah against Islam as a religion. The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese referred to Islam as a violent religion. He also surreptitiously called for a coup against a democratically elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari whom he falsely accused of nepotism.
“This is a most irresponsible pronouncement and we will not allow it to go unchallenged. Kukah’s statement is reckless, inflammatory and unguarded. It is the most egregious, luciferous, serpentine and diabolical statement of the year 2020. Kukah is ululating from the wrong side of the pulpit.
“Kukah is in the habit of demonizing and de-marketing any president who happens to be a Muslim. In particular, we are most disappointed that such a heavily prejudiced and explosive statement is coming from the secretary of Nigeria’s Peace Committee. His behaviour is consistently inconsistent with his status,” Akintola said.
He also said “Kukah lives in the heart of Islam and he has never been attacked. Kukah also knows how generous and charitable the people of Sokoto have been to him. This kind of allegation should have come from someone else, from somewhere else. Kukah has bitten the finger that fed him.
“We can understand Kukah’s frustration. Import duty waivers on every imported good, including private jets, are no longer available. Neither are billion naira contracts at the snap of a finger. A new Sheriff is in town. This is why Kukah has turned to a blackmailer nulli secundus.
“It is unimaginable that such venom is being emitted during Christmas when all are expected to give love. Nigerians can see what is happening. We send messages of love to Bishop Kukah at Christmas. He responds with pent-up anger, contempt and hate-filled emotion. Is this proper?”
Also, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) described Kukah’s Christmas message as irresponsible.
Spokesperson of the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said in a statement that: “The latest attempt by Kukah to destroy the quest for national integration by instigating violence through exploiting cleavages of religious nature to cause disharmony and facilitate the further emasculation of northern Nigerian Muslims is of utmost concern. “It also furthers the irresponsible and unacceptable practice of preachers using the pulpit to promote falsehood and incite their followers against certain sections of the society.”
However, CAN in the 19 northern states and the FCT backed Kukah, saying those reacting to Kukah’s message were misinterpreting him to further divide the country.
The vice chairman of the northern CAN, Rev. John Hayab, in a statement described MURIC’s response as misleading and inciting.
“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 of 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,” the statement said.
It said the memory of the gruesome killing of 76 farmers in Borno State and the abduction of the Kankara boys remains fresh and accused MURIC of keeping silent on 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 said, while calling 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.”
The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) also said it backs Kukah.
Its National Director on social communication, Fr. Mike Umoh, said in a statement on Monday that despite all the attacks on Kukah by those alleging that his message was instigating violence, the Catholic Church in Nigeria stood by Kukah’s position on the state of the nation, given the prolonged security and economic challenges facing the country,
The Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum on Monday condemned what it called the “outbursts of the Presidency and the Northern Elders Forum” over Kukah’s comment. It said Kukah has been a beacon of truthfulness over the years and remains a foremost defender of the aspirations of millions of Nigerians across ethnic and religious lines.
Spokespersons of the forum, Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South- South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), in a statement , said Kukah’s comments have been applauded by majority of Nigerians and “we all stand with him.”
They said:”What we expected was for those concerned to retrace their very unhelpful steps and get back to rekindling oneness in the country. We once more call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to restructure the country.”
Kukah, a Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, in the said message, accused President Buhari of nepotism, saying there could have been a coup if a southerner was the president and had done a quarter of what the president had done.
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