The Catholic Church in Nigeria has called on Nigerians to rise in defence of one of its Bishop, Matthew Hassan Kukah who has come under attack from the agents of the Federal Government over his comment on the state of the nation.
Kukah, who is the Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese of the church recently accused President Mohammadu Buhari of sacrificing the dream of Nigeria for nepotism and parochial interest of Northerners.
Following his statement, Kukah has come under attack from the government which accused him of plotting to dethrone the president by fueling hatred against Buhari.
the Federal Government had said it was graceless and impious for any religious leader to use the period of Christmas, which is a season of peace, to stoke the embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity.
It also said calling for violent overthrow of democratically elected government was not what a religious leader should engage in.
However, in a statement on Monday, the National Directorate of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in Abuja the church urged lovers of truth and justice to rise in defence of Kukah against the attack on his person and the attempt to discredit the simple obvious truth in his message.
Kukah had in his Christmas message to Nigerians lamented the endless woes, which he said had befallen the country.
He said that the country toward becoming a failed state with the “endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence, kidnappings, armed robberies.”
But what may have iritated those who attacked his message most was where he said that every honest Nigerian knew that “there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and gotten away with it.
“There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war.”
But the Catholic Church said the situation in Nigeria no longer allows anyone to sit on the fence or show indifference.
“We are quite aware of the 2020 Christmas Message by our revered Bishop Hassan Kukah and the enormous space it has enjoyed on social media and in public sphere.
“As expected, the agents of evil have gathered to attack the person of the Bishop and to discredit the simple obvious truth of the message.
“This is the stock in trade of evil people. However, they often succeed when good people, Christians, choose to do nothing.
“I am therefore calling our attention to this new development so that we can all rise in unison and stand for truth,” the statement.
The Catholic Church said that everyone must choose and stand up for what he or she believed in.
Quoting a popular verse by St. Augustine, the Church said that “evil is absence of good”, adding that people should add a voice in support of goodness, in order to forestall the reign of evil.
“The truth about our nation is also that there are only two parties now existing: the good and the evil, the oppressed and the oppressor, the suffering people and the benefiting government officers and their families. Please stop allowing anyone fool you with these cards: religion and tribe,” the church said.
Also, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has expressed its support for the assertion by the Catholic Bishop on the state of the nation.
in a statement titled, ‘You cannot suppress the voice of reason’, and signed by its leaders, Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikoku
(South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw
(South South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), condemned the reaction of the Federal Government.
The forum said Kukah had 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, adding that the voice of truth and reason, can never be suppressed.
According to the statement, ”The leadership of the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum, notes with very serious concern and condemnation the outbursts of the Presidency and the Northern Elders Forum over the Christmas Day Message of the revered Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah.
”The outspoken cleric who has been a beacon of truthfulness over the years, remains a foremost defender of the aspirations of millions of Nigerians across ethnic and religious lines. On this occasion, his comments have been applauded by majority of Nigerians and we all stand with him.
”We want to remind the Federal Government and its attack dogs that in the past, they had equally welcomed the forthright views of this Man of God even it favoured them. So why attack him now when he cautions them on their divisive policies? Today, the country has become terribly divided along all kinds of lines. It is shameful and indefensible that suddenly, the Federal Government is dominated by one small ethnic group and they expect all to keep quiet like slaves. Also the wind of insecurity is now almost tsunami and even up to Mr. President’s doorstep in Katsina when he was home recently on holiday.
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