The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday reacted to the threats allegedly issued by some Islamic groups to the Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah.
The CAN General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, who reacted to the matter in a statement, cautioned the Islamic groups on their utterances and actions, saying nothing must happen to the Catholic Bishop.
He said the Christian body has been paying close attention to the unfolding scenario since Kukah spoke his mind on the current situation in the country.
Daramola said: “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.
“When has it 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 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?
“Bishop Kukah was posted to serve in Sokoto by the Papacy and threatening him to leave is a global threat to Christianity. 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.
“We call 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. As far as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is concerned, what he said in his Christmas Homily was still within the ambiance 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.”
The Muslim Solidarity Forum had on Wednesday ordered Kukah to apologise to the Muslim community in the country over his unguarded comments against President Buhari and Islam or leave Sokoto State peacefully.
But the presidency had since cautioned all Muslim groups in the country to allow the Catholic Bishop to practice his faith and politics without any hindrance whatsoever.