The recent threat by a Sokoto based group, Muslim Solidarity Forum to Bishop Mathew Kukah to quietly and quickly leave the state or tender an unreserved apology to the entire Muslim Ummah over his recent comments on President Mohammadu Buhari has been described as a threat to the Christian faith by the Christian Association of Nigeria.
A statement signed by CAN Secretary, Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola noted that Bishop Kukah was posted to serve in Sokoto by the Papacy, and threatening him to leave is a global threat to Christianity.
CAN noted that “in this same country, we have a Catholic Priest whose name is synonymous with President Muhammadu Buhari yet the Catholic Church has not deemed it ﬁt to sanction him because Freedom of Speech and Association is not only a constitutional matter but godly.”
It then called on “President Muhammadu Buhari and all the security agencies to ensure that no harm befalls the Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, adding that “As far as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is concerned, what he said in his Christmas Homily was still within the ambience of the law.
“It is high time those hiding under religious sentiments to promote violence and crises stopped doing so if we want this country to progress. We have had enough of bloodshed in the country and we call on the security agencies to rise up to their constitutional responsibilities. Nothing must happen to Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah.”
CAN cautioned the groups to stop their unlawful actions and also asked the security agencies to ensure the safety and security of the cleric.
“We have been watching the unfolding scenario since Bishop Kukah spoke his mind on the State of the Nation in his Christmas homily and how some groups of people have been threatening him with ﬁre and brimstone while all relevant security agencies are pretending as if nothing unusual is happening. We wonder if those threatening the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto are above the law or if they are sacred cows in the country.
“We have studied the whole Christmas message of Dr. Kukah and we are yet to see any incitement against Islam or non- Christians. We see nothing wrong in his message to the nation that has been under the siege of terrorists, herdsmen killers, bandits, and kidnappers as if there was no government in place.
“We see nothing wrong in telling a government whose lopsided appointments are against Christians the whole truth. If criticism against a Muslim President today, is an incitement to violence against Islam, it then means those who were criticising the duo of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan when they were in power were actually attacking Christianity.”
The Christian body wondered when it has become an offence to speak the truth to power. “When has it become a crime to criticise a government in the country? When did the lawful fundamental of human rights suspend in the country? When were some sections of the Constitution suspended without the awareness of the public?
“When did the Police and the Directorate of the State Security Services lose their power to miscreants and lawless people who are making a boast of their lawlessness without a challenge? We wonder if those Muslim groups who are threatening to deal with Kukah got an equal response from their Christian counterparts, are we not setting up the country on ﬁre?”