The Federal Government, on Friday, January 10, appealed to the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto; Matthew Hassan Kukah, to desist from making incendiary statements capable of heating the polity.
This was in the aftermath of a statement credited to Kukah; where he compared the Nigerian government to Boko Haram terrorists.
However, the Minister of Information and Culture; Lai Mohammed urged the cleric not to indulge in actions that can divide the country along religious lines.
The minister advised Bishop Kukah to rather use his acclaimed ecclesiastical status; to work for religious harmony in Nigeria.
Mohammed stated that Kukah’s statement accusing the federal government of using methods different from the approach of Boko Haram; to achieve the same goal of Islamic dominance of Nigeria was disingenuous.
He further revealed it is a great disservice to the men and women in uniform; who are daily battling the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists to keep all Nigerians safe.
”To now attribute the actions of these mad bunch to an orchestrated and systematic plan; to elevate one religion over the other or decimate adherents of a particular religion is not only unfortunate; but divisive, incendiary and insensitive,” he said.
The minister appealed to religious leaders to be more circumspect in their comments; particularly on religious issues given the deeply emotive nature of religion and the tendency for it to be exploited for political gains by naysayers.
Kukah made the statement which incensed government; when he was addressing the Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need in the United Kingdom on Tuesday.
The cleric said, “The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is (that) Boko Haram is holding a bomb.
“They are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence. With the situation in Nigeria, it is hard to see the moral basis they have to defeat Boko Haram.
“They have created the conditions to make it possible for Boko Haram to behave the way they are behaving.”
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