The 19 Northern States and Abuja chapters of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) are standing by the recent allegations of nepotism and insensitivity to insecurity in the country made by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, against President Muhammadu Buhari.
A statement issued by the group on Monday said that only those who hate the truth would want to discountenance or misinterpret the import of the cleric’s Christmas message and inject sinister meaning to it.
The statement signed by the Vice-Chairman of the CAN of the region, Reverend Joseph Hayab, in Kaduna, also condemned the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) for promoting division in the country, rather than facing the realities.
The statement read: “We 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, Professor Ishaq Akintola that Bishop Kukah had referred to Islam as a violent religion and ‘calls for a coup.’
“That such a statement comes from Professor 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, instead of a religious one.
“To this end, 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 Professor 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 looking 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, 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 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.”