The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has described Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s recent statement as unguarded and an open incitement to military coup and insurrection against the democratically elected government of Muhammadu Buhari.
In a Christmas message titled: ‘A Nation in Search of Vindication’, the Bishop had said Nigeria was on the verge of becoming a failed state.
He said, “This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness. The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension. Are we going to remain hogtied by these evil men or are they gradually becoming part of a larger plot to seal the fate of our country?”
But AYCF in a 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 statement read, “Such a reckless statement by Kukah betrays something much more sinister against both the North and the nation as a whole because Nigeria is at a stage that it requires responsible advice for attaining peace and stability, not deliberate attempt to mischievously compound our problems.
“If Kukah wants to play politics, he should not do so in the pulpit and he should keep the Bishop’s office aside and choose any Nigerian political party platform to contest for President in 2023 and stop all the pretence.”
“We will not allow opportunists who did not make any contribution to scuttle the democracy achieved through our sweat and toil and the sacrifice of our liberty.”
However, the Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 northern states and Abuja on Monday warned the Presidency and the Muslim Rights Concern against twisting Kukah’s Christmas Day message.
This is also as the Catholic Church described those attacking the Bishop as agents of evil, the PUNCH reported.
The statement authored by the Vice Chairman, Northern CAN, Rev. John Hayab, said the association was shocked at an attempt by the Presidency and MURIC to twist the message (Kukah’s) and warned against such.
Hayab described as baseless and worrisome the claim by the President of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, that Bishop Kukah had referred to Islam “as a violent religion” and “called for a coup”.
The Northern CAN said there was no expression that suggested that Bishop Kukah’s message was an affront to Islam or a call for a coup.
The statement read, “CAN in 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.
“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 in Bishop Kukah’s message,” the statement said.
For the avoidance of doubt, the statement noted that “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.”
The Christian body maintained that “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.”
The Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum on Monday also backed Kukah.
The SMBLF expressed its concern in a statement by Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Chief Guy Ikoku (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), titled, ‘You cannot suppress the voice of reason’.
The statement reads, “The outspoken cleric who has been a beacon of truthfulness over the years, remains a foremost defender of the aspirations of millions of Nigerians across ethnic and religious lines. On this occasion, his comments have been applauded by the majority of Nigerians and we all stand with him.”