Boko Haram Consuming Nigeria Under Buhari’s Watch, Says Kukah

File photo of Bishop Matthew Kukah

 

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah on Sunday berated the current administration for its handling of Nigeria’s security challenges, saying Boko Haram terrorists are consuming the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.

Kukah in his 2021 Easter message titled, ‘Before our glory departs’, recalled that President Buhari had in 2015 described Boko Haram insurgents as a typical case of small fires causing large fires.

“On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires,” Kukah said.

“Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small.

“In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication.”

Bishop Kukah also blamed those in power for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country, noting that insecurity keeps deteriorating because the ruling class pays more attention to rehabilitating bandits and kidnappers than the victims.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Christians Mark Easter As Doctors Strike Takes Toll On Healthcare Services

He expressed concern over the killing of security operatives and the “helplessness” of the citizens, saying: “Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel.

“Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly.

“A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

NIGERIA: BEFORE OUR GLORY DEPARTS

EASTER MESSAGE, April 4th 2021

By Matthew Hassan KUKAH, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese

If a religious leader is afraid to say what is right, what else can his silence mean but that he has taken flight? Hiding behind a wall of silence is like taking flight at the approach of the wolf.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540–604 AD)

 

1: Easter Sunday is here again. But first, let us step back to Friday.

Good Friday was a Kairos moment for the beleaguered followers of Jesus, a defining moment that separated truth from falsehood and light from the darkness. At Golgotha, Jesus remained silent when the first thief taunted Him, and when bystanders scornfully asked him to demonstrate His divine powers by coming down from the cross. Everything about Christ–the prophecies of His birth, His life on earth, the miracles He performed, the sermons He preached, His torture and subsequent death–now hung languidly on a wooden cross on the hill of Golgotha. There were two types of persons at Golgotha: observers and waiters. The observers had two characteristics, derision and curiosity.

The waiters were characterised by hope, fear, and anxiety. Both sides watched and waited with bated breath. After His ignominious death, everything now depended on the third day. After all, He had said He would rise after three days (Mk. 9:31).

2: Let us pause and look back at the earlier events in the life of Jesus. Let us look briefly at the drama of the three temptations of Jesus by the devil as recorded by St. Matthew. First, the devil has a sense of perfect timing when he approached Jesus. He knows that Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights without food and was hungry (Mt. 4:2). Prove that you are the Son of God: turn these stones into bread, he said (Mt. 4:3). In response, Jesus says: Man will not live on bread alone (Mt. 4:4). Here, Jesus insists

that there are higher goals for us to live or die for. The devil had hoped that like the dictators of today, Jesus could seduce the people with the bread of temporal power to gain cheap followership. No, Jesus says, you must set a higher moral goal.

Second, the devil asks Jesus to throw himself down the cliff. After all, he tells Jesus, the Angels of God will hold you (Mt. 4:6). Here, Jesus is called to take a shortcut to fame.

Why travel the hard road of suffering, sacrifice, exclusion, and powerlessness? Succumb to the seduction of the dreamer, the charmer, climb the actor’s shoulder. And then what next? Jesus rejects this temptation. Why? Because God demands more than theatrical performances from us.

Third, the devil says he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (money, power, territory) only if He bows and acknowledges him (Mt. 4:8). Wow! No better evidence that the devil is a liar. He knows he has no kingdom and what he has is his kingdom of darkness and lies. It was in this same manner that the devil deceived Eve at the Garden of Eden by mixing a concoction of lies. At the base of this temptation is the seduction of pride and power. God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God (Gen. 3:5). Think of the many who have sold their souls for ephemeral power, those who have denied Jesus by action so as to ascend the throne of power. By His resistance to the devil, Jesus shows that following His path will require tremendous sacrifice.

3: It’s now Saturday night. The clock is ticking. Will He or will He not rise as He said?

No one knows what to expect. Will Jesus be exposed as a fraud? The Apostles are retired, desolate, forlorn, woebegone, and despondent. Has it all come to nothing? Have they lost everything? Has it all just been an illusion? Was Peter right when he asked what their reward would be, having forgone everything to follow Him? (Mt. 19:27) Has this been one wild goose chase? Where would they turn to now? The sun gradually sets

on Saturday. The night has in its womb, a combination of the derision and curiosity binding the observers and waiters. A cloud of trepidation envelopes everywhere. The Roman authorities have built a concrete wall of military security around the grave. They sealed the stone and placed heavy military guard just in case, as they feared, His followers come and steal the body and pretend that He had risen (Mt. 27: 64).

4: Sunday morning would seal the fate of everyone on both sides.

As it turns out, the world forgot that: He who guards Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). Before daybreak, a woman, Mary Magdalene, visits the grave to perform a simple ritual. To her shock, she finds an empty tomb! (Jn. 20:1). Slowly, painfully, unbelievably, the words go out: They have taken the body of the Lord away and we do not know where they have put Him (Jn. 20:2). They will soon realise that, indeed, His resurrection is only a fulfilment of what He had promised during His lifetime. The devil has been defeated, and the Lord has the final word. Truth has drowned falsehood. Light has overcome darkness. Good has triumphed over evil. Life has defeated death.

5: The Roman soldiers who stood guard over the grave were like dead men (Mt. 28:3).

However, rather than face punishment, the Roman authorities offered to bribe them and asked them to lie that the Lord’s body had been stolen while they were sleeping! (Mt. 28:13). It is too late: The Lord is risen indeed! World history succumbs to the power of the Creator of heaven and earth. Time and space have merged. History’s calendar is split into two. Henceforth, everything will be marked by whether it happened before or after the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This is what Christians celebrate today. But what is the implication of all this for us in Nigeria today?

6: Nigeria’s current predicament reminds me of Israel’s situation that led to the death of Eli, the great High Priest of Israel. Israel’s defeat in the hands of the Philistines led to the death of 30,000 soldiers. The two sons of the 98-year-old priest – Hophni and Phinehas – died in the battle. Eli’s two sons had foolishly carried the Ark of the Lord into the battlefield for protection, only for it to become a trophy for the victorious Philistines.

The high priest, Eli, collapsed and died after hearing this horrible news. Elsewhere, on hearing about the death of her husband, her father- in-law, and the loss of the Ark, Eli’s daughter-in-law went into premature labour. She was delivered of a baby boy–a call for great celebration in Israel! Strangely, she responded by naming her newborn son “Ichabod,” meaning, The glory has departed!

7: Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?

8: Two weeks ago, I came across a video in which a very frustrated Muslim cleric, addressing a Muslim audience, lamented: If you killed 200 chickens in the farm of any of the big farmers, you will be dealt with. But today, we are being killed. It is your fault. On the day of elections, you say, it is Jihad! Christians will take over Nigeria! Ok, the Christians did not take Nigeria. It has been left in the hands of those who sit and see us being killed. If we are killed, the head says, God forbid! He was not elected to say God forbid. This imaginary jihad won the elections now where are the jihadists? The lesson here is that politicians will use religion to mobilise for elections, but they cannot use it to govern.

9: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria weighed in with a strong statement on February 23, 2021, titled, We Must Pull Back from the Brink of Collapse. Part of the statement read: The very survival of the nation is at stake. The nation is pulling apart.

Widespread serious insecurity for long unaddressed has left the sad and dangerous impressions that those who have assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable or worse, unwilling to take up the responsibilities to their office.

Patience is running out. Sadly, all of these warnings are still falling on deaf ears.

10: It may sound strange, but for us Christians, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is the greatest assurance that all these will pass away. This is not a call for us to simply sit on our hands or believe we can pray our crises away. As pointed out above, the sufferings of Jesus and His Cross provide us with the perfect mirror of our hope. St. Paul reminds us: We are hard-pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:9). These are the hallmarks of our faith. We must remain steadfast.

11: I appeal to Christians to continue in the spirit of the Gospel, the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. St. Paul says: Though He was God, he humbled himself, became man and remained obedient up till death (Phil. 2:6ff). Following in His steps, we Christians have lived through the life of martyrdom. Jesus taught us how to pray for our enemies (Mt. 5:44). Although His teachings are hard (Jn. 6:60), it was not the guns of a powerful army that brought down the walls of Jericho. The prayers of the priests did (Jos. 6:20). Jesus defied the temptations of coming down from the Cross. He knew there was a higher truth deferred. It was fulfilled on Easter day. No matter the provocation, we must arm ourselves with the weapons of truth, the Word, the Spirit, and love. At the heart of Christianity is the Truth and Love.

12: Today, many of us erroneously speak about the trial of Jesus by Pilate on Good Friday. In reality, it was Pilate who stood trial, not Jesus. Pilate sat on a throne to judge what he himself was ignorant of–the truth. Chained by ignorance, the powerful often grope around a twilight zone between truth and lies. At the mention of the word “Truth” by Jesus, Pilate was jolted from his chair. In trepidation and apprehension, the mighty man says, Truth, what is that? (Jn. 18:38). Pilate was looking for the Truth but did not recognise it when it stood right before him. In every age, the seduction of raw power tends to blind the Pilates of this world to the truth.

13: When governments face legitimacy crises, they fall back on serving the sour broth of propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies. They manufacture consent by creating imaginary enemies, setting citizens against one another by deploying religion, ethnicity, region, and other platforms while appealing to the base emotions of patriotism. We forget the reality that without truth, the throne of power often turns into a cage, and the occupant is turned into a prisoner. In reality, the truth needs neither a judge nor a witness. The truth is its own judge and witness. Without the truth, as the old song says, all else is sinking sand!

14: Recently, according to the World Happiness Report, we are one of the unhappiest nations in the world. This is unacceptable but understandable. Our clay-footed fight against corruption has not moved the needle of transparency forward. Of course, being the poverty capital of the world comes with its rewards such as banditry, violence, death, sorrow, blood, poverty, misery, and tears. Our cup of sorrow is permanently full; hence the exponential rise in the frustration curve across the country.

15: Sadly, human life is haemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power. Mysteriously, the government is investing billions of naira in rehabilitating so-called Boko Haram repentant members and their other partners in crime in the belief that they want to turn a new leaf. These criminals have waged war against their country, murdered thousands of citizens, destroyed infrastructure and rendered entire families permanently displaced and dislocated. Why should rehabilitating the perpetrator be more important than bringing succour to the victims?

16: When kidnapped or killed, victims and their families are left to their wits. They cry alone, bury their loved ones alone. And our government expects us to be patriotic? The victims of violence need empathy, which the dictionary defines as the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other. A critical deficit of empathy on the side of the government makes healing almost impossible for the victims. We have not heard anything about a rehabilitation programme for the thousands of schoolchildren who have been victims of abduction. We seem to assume that their return to their schools is sufficient. Left unaddressed, the traumatic effect of their horrors will haunt them for a long time. Tomorrow’s parents, military generals, top security men and women, governors, senators, and ministers will come from today’s pool of traumatised children.

The security quandary is the greatest indictment of this government.

17: There is a time for everything under the sun (Eccl. 3:1). Perhaps, we can paraphrase this by saying there is a time for war and a time for peace. There is a time for poverty and a time for wealth. There is a time for stealing and a time for returning what has been stolen. There is a time for politics and a time for governance. There is a time for tethering to the brink of chaos and a time for recovering the soul of a nation.

There is a time for the collapse of morality and a time for moral recovery. There is a time for leadership and a time for statesmanship. There is a time for losing greatness and a time for achieving greatness. Nigeria must now ask itself: What is left of our glory? Where are the values that held us together?

18: On our national Coat of Arms, we profess our motto to be: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. But let us ask ourselves: Is Nigeria united today? Do citizens still have faith in the country? Where are the signs of peace or progress? Today, before our very eyes, these words have been emptied of their flavour and have lost their resonance and capacity to summon our citizens to patriotism. St Augustine once said: Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? He further said that: A gang is a group of men (and women) under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. This is the fate of our nation today. Day by day, Nigeria drifts irreversibly into a dark tunnel. Things are falling apart with unnerving rapidity because those who govern have only a pact to protect their interests. Politics is merely its conveyor belt of ambition. Nigeria has a date with destiny. If we do not turn around, The axe is alreadylaid to the roots of the tree (Mt. 3:10).

19: With some chance, we might pull through this, but it is getting tougher each passing day. Does anyone remember where we started and how we got here? On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires. Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small. The rumblings over the wearing of a hijab in Kwara State suggest that we have not seen the end of individuals sacrificing national cohesion to feed their personal ambitions by starting small fires. Most politicians hardly think through the long-term effects of these pyrrhic victories of using religion. What started as a small fire with adoption of Sharia in Zamfara in 1999, spread across the northern states. Ordinary people broke into ecstatic joy. Today, what has become of the north? What are the lessons?

20: In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication. Prophet Isaiah’s words should give us hope and consolation. He said: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:2). We shall lift our eyes to the mountain because we know that our help shall come from the Lord (Ps. 121:1). As Christians, we do not trust in God because we cannot revenge. We do not revenge because we trust in God. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (Ex. 14:14). Just as the chains of death could not hold Jesus in the grave, so shall we triumph. Break into shouts of joy together, O ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has consoled his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9). Have hope and be cheerful (Rom. 12:12).

A very happy and peaceful Easter to everyone.

Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Kukah To Human Rights Council

Picture combination of Pope Francis and Bishop Mattew Kukah

 

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto as a member of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Human Integral Development.

His appointment was contained in a letter to Bishop Kukah dated 11th December 2020, and signed by His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Turkson, the Prefect of the Dicastery.

A statement by the Director, Social Communications, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, St. Bakhita Catholic Secretariat, Rev. Fr Christopher Omotosho, says that by this appointment, Bishop Kukah will join other members of the Dicastery drawn from different regions of the world to advise and promote the Holy Father’s concerns on issues of justice and peace, human rights, torture, human trafficking, care of creation and other issues related to the promotion of human dignity and development.

The appointment, which is renewable is for an initial period of five years. The Council will be formally inaugurated on a later date.

Rev. Fr. Omotosho noted that the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development was created on January 1, 2017, when four Dicasteries, namely, the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Pastoral Care of Immigrants and Itinerant People, and Health Care of Workers, were all merged by the Holy Father.

“This appointment adds to Bishop Kukah’s string of national and international engagements within the universal Church.

“He was first appointed a Consultor and later a member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican City and served under three Popes”.

Bishop Kukah is currently, Chairman, Dialogue Committees of both the *Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).*

He was a member of the official Delegation of the Holy See that met with the Emir of Qatar when that country opened diplomatic relations with the Holy Sea in 2002.

In 2016, he was nominated by the Vatican to represent Africa on the *Advisory Board of the Vienna based, King Abdulazeez International Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, (KAIICID).

KAIICID is the fruit of the collaboration between the governments of Saudi Arabia, Austria and the Holy See for the promotion of worldwide Dialogue between world religions.

Rev Fr. Omotosho added that Bishop Kukah comes to the Dicastery on the Promotion of Integral Development with a lot of experience in the areas of human rights, justice, and reconciliation.

Presidency Faults Group Asking Bishop Kukah To Leave Sokoto

In his Christmas message, Bishop Matthew Kukah accused President Muhammadu Buhari of nepotism.

 

The presidency has faulted a group, the Muslim Solidarity Forum, over a threat it issued to the bishop of Sokoto diocese, Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah, to tender an apology over a recent comment credited to him or leave the state.

In a statement signed on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, the presidency described the situation as an assault on the cleric’s freedom.

The presidency also declared that Bishop Kukah must be allowed to practice his faith and politics, describing the stance by the Muslim solidarity forum as wrong and not in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Kukah’s Christmas Message: Ortom Asks FG Not To Muzzle Nigerians

Bishop Kukah in his Christmas message had lamented the state of the polity, condemning the president’s leadership style and ascribing the prevailing national condition to his decisions, a comment the Muslim Solidarity Forum says was an insult to the entire Muslim Ummah and “malicious comments” against Islam.

But in its statement, the presidency explained that “under our constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions.

“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity,” the statement read in part.

“The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s constitution. The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians”.

While admitting that Bishop Kukah offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the president, the presidency called for restraint, warning that groups or factions such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must not give quit notices, neither should they unilaterally sanction any perceived breaches.

Edo People Have Left A Legacy Of Efficiency – Bishop Kukah

 

The Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, Reverend Bishop Mattew Kukah, has commended the people of Edo State for their conduct during the state’s governorship election on Saturday.

According to him, the people have left a legacy of efficiency which the entire country can emulate.

“The way they conducted themselves and I think in every sense of the word, they left us a legacy of efficiency,” he said on Tuesday during an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily.

 

 

The bishop who is also a member of the National Peace Committee, also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, security agencies and civil society groups for their roles in the election.

“We worked very closely with INEC and I must commend the INEC chairman for his incredible leadership, zeal and enthusiasm.

“The Inspector-General of Police kept to his word on the promises he made to the people of Edo State and to the peace committee.

“Our commendation also goes to the people of Edo State. I have received quite a lot of messages from old friends that I haven’t spoken to in a long time, commending the work of the National Peace Committee but really this is not an honour that one individual should take.

“It is the people of Edo State, the way they conducted themselves,” he said.

Read Also: Edo State Governorship Election: APC Congratulates Obaseki On His Re-Election

Speaking generally about the political atmosphere in other parts of the country, he lamented that Nigeria is currently not practicing a democracy.

“What we are practicing in Nigeria, it’s just theoretically we answer the name democracy but in reality, what we are dealing with is a feudal system that is tied to agencies and ideologies that have got nothing to do with a democracy.

“When last did you see a politician across Europe which we are trying to imitate go and bow to the queen or king or seek blessings from a bishop. We have too many intervening variables that are confusing the narrative.

“We are really not practicing the principles of democracy and it lies in the fact that only those who have money can hope to be voted into power.

“If you feel you need to be anointed to ascend to power then we are running a theocracy”.

Youths Must Unite To Combat Security Challenges, Says Kukah

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Revd Mathew Kukah (File)

 

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, has challenged Nigerian youths to work together in tackling the security challenges facing the country.

Bishop Kukah made this call on Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

“Young children, please remember that in Plateau State, only last week, there were perhaps many young children like you getting ready and preparing for graduation but now they have graduated to the grave,” he said.

Beyond the attacks in which at least 100 people were killed in Plateau last weekend, the renowned cleric also decried killings that have claimed many lives in Benue, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and other states.

As the government and security officials work to find solutions to the killings that have continued to defy efforts made so far, the bishop said parents share some of the blame in the security challenges.

He, therefore, wants parents to better perform their roles of seeing to the welfare of their children, especially giving education to the girl-child.

“Too many parents are outsourcing parenting. We have transferred our responsibility to machines. Our society is not going to grow if we don’t give our women a voice,” he said.

Kukah’s comments a week after suspected herdsmen attacked Xlands, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nhgar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk in Gashish district, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.

During the attack, 100 people were confirmed killed, six people were injured while at least 50 houses, two vehicles and 15 motorcycles were burnt.

The attack has been widely condemned by the President, state governors, lawmakers and various groups, including Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which urged the government to review the nation’s security architecture.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian Governors Forum and former President Olusegun Obasanjo are among those who have paid condolence visits to the state.

In reaction to the killings, many Nigerians and groups have criticised efforts so far made to halt the bloodshed called on the government to take more drastic and decisive action.

Among those, who condemned the continued killings was Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka who warned in a five-page statement that “The Nation Is Dying” as things stand and urged the President to speak a language that “murderous herdsmen” understand.

 

Security Threats: Bishop Kukah Asks Christians To Take Responsibility

The Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Reverend Father Matthew Kukah has urged members of the Christian community to assume full responsibility and unite against security threats.

Kukah, who was the keynote speaker at the Catholic Men’s Guild Conference in Lagos on Saturday, also urged Nigerians to identify the root cause of the religious crisis in the nation and take up the challenge of protecting one another.

“The notion that we are living in the country that Christians are on one side and Muslims on the other side and that ethnicity is such a major factor is to miss the point. We must locate our conflict and crisis in a completely different context.

“Human agency may be important but the reason why the state exists is because people organise to ensure the security of one another. So, the question is how did we get to the point where the guns that are purchased with our resources have been turned against us.

“It is not so much the government’s position, it is that we are entering public life not dressed as Christians. It is not by our crosses. The Catholic church must take full responsibility for our inability to recruit men and women into public life,” he said.

READ ALSO: Two Killed, Several Injured As Windstorm Wreaks Havoc In Bauchi

Others that the conference also emphasised the importance of Christians to take up the challenge of protecting one another.

The security threat to the church, according to clerics and speakers at the conference is largely contributed by denominational and ethnic division, as well as the inability of Christians in public leadership to question systems that are inimical to the Christian faith.

Renowned economist, Pat Utomi, at the conference, however, discouraged Christians from picking up arms.

“If you pick up arms, all you do is just descend into a vortex. But the pen, organizing can be much more mightier than the sword.”

 

Bishop Kukah Calls For Introspection In Easter Message

Mattew Kukah, Politicians

 

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has asked Nigerians to look inwards and re-order their priorities so as to provide solutions to the various socio-political and economic problems burdening the nation.

He made the appeal in a special Easter message addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s political leaders and other citizens.

Bishop kukah reminded the President that the country is being divided by religion and ethnicity, which he believes threaten the very foundation of the nation.

He said: “I believe that this country is so split both vertically and horizontally today that all of us must honestly identify our many sins of omission and commission so that we can honestly seek a solution.

“This is a time for us to genuinely face what looks to me like an impending calamity. The gathering clouds are clear for us to see and even those who cannot see can hear the rumbling and rolling sound of thunder. We ignore them at our own risk.”

While he acknowledged the President’s efforts in delivering on his major campaign promises of security and the anti-corruption fight, he urged him to find ways of reconnecting with the people to genuinely address their yearnings and aspirations.

“We have never felt so alienated from one another. The bogeyman of religion, region and ethnicity, which we thought we had overcome by the sheer nature of your support base, has come back with a vengeance to haunt and threaten the very foundation of our existence.

“Mr. President, you are too distant from your people. There is a sad feeling that you do not share in the pain and suffering of your people. You must very quickly find a way of connecting with your people,” the Bishop said.

Furthermore, he accused political leaders of being consumed by materialism and abandoning their responsibilities to the people, promoting hatred, intolerance and corruption and being mere contraptions to grab power.

Religious leaders were not spared as the Bishop also accused them of falling into the temptation of presenting their churches and mosques as platforms for partisanship.

He, however, advised the leaders to “reduce the culture of godfatherism, and focus on building the foundation of a strong political culture”.

For the citizens he warned them against being manipulated by politicians, the businessmen/women, the religious leaders, and to defend their dignity as human beings and children of God.

“Defend your dignity as human beings and children of God. Do not allow the rich and powerful, who are rich because you are poor, to divide you.

“Rise and defend your right to food, health, shelter and the rest, because poverty is not a divine inheritance,” he said.

According to him, defending oneself does not mean turning o violence but rather, recognizing ones rights.

“Easter teaches us the message of love and of gentleness and of true strength. It tells us that to defend oneself does not mean to turn to violence or to any other misdeed or evil. But it means to recognize one’s dignity as a child of God and remember that each one is created and called to enjoy the fullness of life.”

Bishop Kukah Demands Clearer Policy On Fighting Corruption

Bishop KukahThe Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Reverend Father Mattew Kukah, says the present administration lacks the ability to communicate hope to the people of Nigeria.

Bishop Kukah said this in an interview with Channels Television in Katsina State.

He said that the present administration lacks the ability to design both short and long term mission that can keep the citizens engaged.

Bishop Kukah further said that fighting corruption is a good thing that ought to be in a bigger policy as the country needs practical plans that suggest where the Buhari administration taking the nation.

However the popular Bishop said that the present government should be given more time as he believed they will fulfil their election promises to Nigerians.

Pope appoints Kukah to Vatican’s Pontifical Council

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Vatican City.

Matthew Hassan Kukah with the Pope Benedict XVI

The 13-member Council is the highest decision and policy-making body for the Council for the Holy Father.

Kukah’s appointment is coming after the appointment of the Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan as a Cardinal.

The Bishop has recently had sundry of appointments and awards.

In May, the President of the Conference of Bishops of English and French speaking West Africa appointed Kukah as the Chairman of the Commission on Culture, Inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism.

In February, he was elected Chairman of the Commission on Inter-religious Dialogue for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.

He had earlier served the Council in five-year tenure when Francis Cardinal Arinze served as the President of the Council.

He was a delegate at the just-concluded Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelisation in the Vatican.