From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned Muslim groups threatening the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, to stop their unlawful actions, asking the security agencies to ensure the safety and security of the cleric.
CAN reminded the groups and the Federal Government that Bishop Kukah was posted to serve in Sokoto Diocese by the Papacy, and threatening him to leave Sokoto is a global threat to Christianity
Its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, in a statement released in Abuja, on Thursday, said that CAN is keenly watching the unfolding scenario since Bishop Kukah spoke his mind on the State of the Nation in his Christmas homily.
He said: “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 Bishop 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.
“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 lawful fundamental of human rights suspended in the country? When did some sections of the Constitution suspended without the awareness of the public?
“When did the Police and the Department of State Security Services lose their power to miscreants and lawless people who are making boast of their lawlessness without a challenge? We wonder if those Muslim groups who are threatening to deal with Bishop Kukah get equal response from their Christian counterparts, ain’t we going to set the country on ﬁre?”
“In this same country, we have a Catholic Bishop 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.”
CAN,thus, called on President Buhari and all the security agencies to ensure that no harm befall Bishop Kukah, even as it insisted that what he said in his Christmas Homily was and still within the ambience of the law.
“It’s 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,” CAN insists.