Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN have risen in defense of Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, saying he never in his Christmas message made any expression suggesting an affront to Islam or a call for a coup.
The Christian body, therefore, accused the Federal government and the President of Muslims Rights Concern, MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola of twisting Kukah’s message, stressing that it was injurious to the development of the country.
CAN’s position was contained in a statement signed by its Vice-Chairman in charge of 19 Northern State and Abuja, Rev. John John Hayab.
The Vice Chairman said that Akintola’s earlier statement as a reaction to Kukah’s message was misleading. He called on the international community to counsel Akintola on the need to take the path of honour in matters of national importance.
The statement read thus: “CAN 19 northern states and Abuja has 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.
“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 comes from Prof Akintola is not only laughable but misleading and tissue of lies. Records show MURIC’s leadership is often careless with assertions and many times acting as if it was a political platform instead of a religious one.
“CAN 19 northern states and Abuja, therefore, condemn in its entirety the misleading and inciting statements of MURIC and its likes calling 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.
“Our memory is fresh with the gruesome killings of 76 farmers in Borno State in early December 2020 whose crime was simply being farmers irking for a source of livelihoods for their families. What was MURIC’s statement at the time of that national tragedy? How about the Kankara boys kidnap and the excruciating pains the kids, their parents and school were thrown in?
“CAN 19 northern states and Abuja did not read a statement from MURIC and their likes. 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.
“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 is time for the Presidency, MURIC, and misinformed individuals to eschew their 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.”