The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah has continued to anger several Northern groups and elders with his blunt Christmas Day message wherein he criticized several aspects of the Buhari government.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has described Bishop Kukah’s statement about the Buhari government as unguarded and an open incitement to military coup and insurrection against General Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Another Northern group called the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) also faulted Bishop Kukah’s statement.
In a Christmas message titled: ‘A Nation in Search of Vindication’, Bishop Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese said Nigeria was on the verge of becoming a failed state.
A part of the message reads:
“President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status. He has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.”
“Every honest Nigerian knows 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. The President may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions. He may be right and we Christians cannot feel sorry that we have no pool of violence to draw from or threaten our country. However, God does not sleep. We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North.”
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) in its statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of Kukah for what it described as a treasonable felony against the Nigerian state.
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), on the other hand, threatened to report Kukah to the International Criminal Court (ICC), describing his Christmas Day message as a threat to national unity.
However, the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum has backed the Bishop, condemning all the attacks on him.
The Southern forum described Kukah as a “beacon of truthfulness” and “a foremost defender of the aspirations of millions of Nigerians across ethnic and religious lines”.
The Forum said:
“We remind those concerned that the voice of truth and reason can never be suppressed successfully. Bishop Kukah remains a national icon, a hero of the masses. We demand an immediate apology to him for the baseless attacks.”