Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government has replied the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Revd (Dr) Matthew Hassan Kukah, over his recent comments on the insecurity plaguing the country.
Kukah, a former Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, had in a statement through the Diocesan Communications Office, said only bomb differentiates insurgents from the Federal Government.
The former Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, accused the Federal Government of using different methods to achieve the same goal of Islamic dominance in Nigeria.
But the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), Segun Adeyemi, advised Kukah to use his high ecclesiastical office to work for religious harmony in the country rather than indulging in actions that are capable of dividing the country along religious lines.
Mohammed added that the statement credited to Kukah, “in which he compared the Federal Government with Boko Haram, is not only disingenuous, but also 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.”
While reiterating the government’s position that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists do not subscribe to any religion, irrespective of their pretense to such, Mohammed added that the insurgents were driven by their primitive propensity to kill mindlessly and destroy without restraint, irrespective of their victims’ creed, gender or tribe.
”To now attribute the actions of this 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,” Mohammed told Kukah.
The minister also urged religious leaders to be more circumspect in their comments, especially on religious issues, because of the deeply emotive nature of religion and the tendency for it to be exploited for political gains by naysayers.