From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), infamous for Igbo must go quit notice in 2017, have threatened to drag the Archbishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah before the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his recent utterances against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Bishop Kukah had in a Christmas message said that there would have been a coup had a Southerner occupied the nation’s seat of power in view of daily rising of incidents of insecurity in the country.
However, CNG’s Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman in a statement on Monday said the Clergyman’s utterances were inciting, adding that, “The CNG finds it ironic that a Reverend would choose the revered occasion of the celebration of the birth of Christ to needlessly incite hatred against a section of the country”.
The statement also noted that the utterances by Bishop Kukah was capable of aiding the deterioration of the situation in the country by stimulating a form of false story of an Islamisation agenda by government.
“We therefore give notice to Kukah and his fellow instigators and perpetrators of all hate crimes that the CNG is ready and willing to take matters to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for redress where local remedies could not be provided against their irresponsible actions.
“Such acts are the prelude to genocide and ethnic cleansing and therefore, are actionable under international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as international criminal law.We are also familiar with the provisions of the Rome Statute in this respect, as well as the processes and outcomes of the various international tribunals and courts from the Nuremberg Tribunal to the recent tribunals that tried cases related to genocide and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and other situations.
“We do not contend their claims of the current administrative lapses, nor do we intend to fault the right of people to criticise government’s inadequate, ineffective, exclusive and unfocused policies.The northern Muslims, contrary to the deliberate distortions by the Kukahs, happen to be the major casualty of this administration’s serial misgovernance in terms of security, economy, distribution of key federal appointments and essential goods and services, making it unacceptably irresponsible for Kukah and his ilk to hide behind the guise of criticism of government to attack a whole ethnic or religious group.
“We therefore emphatically repudiate any attempt at the vilification of one ethnic and religious group or the other for whatever reason or justification. In this light, we deem the Kukah’s persistent targeting of the entire northern Muslims for vilification, systematic dehumanization, profiling, alienation or any action that will render them object of attack and persecution, not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency and therefore unacceptable.We at CNG are quite aware that targeting of any ethnic or religious group and singling it out for any negative action for all intents and purposes, is against both our laws and international law.
“Meanwhile, we remind the Federal Government of the imperative of checkmating all religious groups and religious teachings that undermine Nigeria’s peace, security, and peaceful coexistence through unguarded utterances and deliberate actions aimed at fomenting unrest and engendering inter-religious and inter-communal conflicts. Individuals associated with such groups or actions that incite others to violations must be decisively dealt with.
“In that regard, we remind government of our earlier advice for the enactment of appropriate laws to deal with all manifestations of hate speech from any quarter”. The statement said.