The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies in the country to ensure that no harm befalls the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Dr Matthew Kukah.
The Association also warned those threatening the Catholic cleric to stop their “unlawful” actions, insisting that the safety and security of the priest should not be toyed with.
The organisation made this known in a press statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, on Thursday.
A Sokoto-based group, the Muslim Support Forum had asked Kukah to vacate the state or tender an apology over his comments on Islam.
Part of the statement read, “We have been watching the unfolding scenario since Bishop Kukah spoke his mind on the State of the Nation in his Christmas homily and how 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?
CAN wondered why security operatives have failed to arrest those threatening to attack the Bishop, saying, “When did the Police and the Directorate of the State Security Services lose their power to miscreants and lawless people who are making boasts of their lawlessness without a challenge? We wonder if those Muslim groups who are threatening to deal with Kukah got 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 is concerned, what he said in his Christmas Homily was still within the ambience of the law.
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