The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has denied calling for a coup in Nigeria, just as the Muslim Right Concern (MURIC) asked him to resign from his position as the secretary of Nigeria’s Peace Committee.
The NATION newspaper reported that Mr Kukah made the denial this while addressing journalists on Tuesday.
Mr Kukah in his 2020 Christmas message titled, ‘A nation in search of vindication’, on Friday, said the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari has shown preferential treatment for a section of the country.
“Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and got away with it.
“There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war. The President may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions.”
Mr Kukah’s opinion attracted swift reactions from clerics and other citizens.
Some accused the cleric of calling for the president’s removal through undemocratic means, while others backed his opinion.
But on Tuesday, Mr Kukah told journalists that he has no problem with President Buhari as a person but with his leadership style.
He said a section of the media misinterpreted his position on Mr Buhari’s leadership style.
“It is unfair for a journalist or news medium to report that I called for a coup while expressing my personal views about Nigeria.
“I have no iota of grudge with President Muhammadu Buhari, but what I strictly and categorically said was that using religion as a tool for playing politics is unacceptable and would not be accepted,” Mr Kukah said.
Reacting to Mr Kukah’s controversial Christmas message, the director of MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, in a statement on Wednesday called for Mr Kukah’s resignation as secretary of the peace committee.
Mr Akintola claimed the cleric ‘indirectly called for a coup’ and also called Islam a violent religion.
“It will be recalled that Bishop Mathew Hasan Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese indirectly called for a coup and referred to Islam as a violent religion about four days ago. We strongly believe that those pronouncements are inconsistent with the bishop’s status particularly as the secretary of Nigeria’s Peace Committee.
“MURIC suggests immediate review of the composition and operation of the Peace Committee. The secretariat of the Peace Committee must be moved out of the Kukah Centre.
“A neutral place must be found. In addition, a neutral person who is not head or official of any religious group or a person known for making volatile statements must be made head of its secretariat.
“The Peace Committee may also consider coopting a co-chairman who must be a Christian since the current chairman is a Muslim. This will engender balance.”
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