The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto archdiocese, Mathew Kukah, has described the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as the most nepotistic and narcissistic government in Nigeria’s history.
Mr Kukah made this remark in an address delivered during the burial ceremony of a Catholic seminarian from the Sokoto diocese, Micheal Nnadi.
Mr Nnadi died three weeks after he was abducted by armed men dressed in military uniforms on January 9, at the good shepherd major seminary in Kaduna State.
He was abducted with three others, identified as Pius, Peter and Stephen. While the other three survived the abduction, 19-year-old Mr Nnadi, an orphan, was found dead in Kaduna State, days after the abductors called his grandmother, Eunice Nwokocha, to inform her that they had executed her grandson.
Mr Kukah, whose speech was shared with PREMIUM TIMES by the Catholic secretariat, recounted the pre-election promises made by President Buhari at the Chatham House, London, and expressed regret at what he described as the apparent disappointment of Nigerians over the current state of affairs, especially with regards to the nation’s security.
According to Mr Kukah, Mr Buhari, whom the cleric repeatedly described as a military leader, had promised to revamp the military and address the root causes of terrorism with proactive steps that will prevent the escalation of security threats across the country.
“No one could have imagined that in winning the Presidency, General Buhari would bring nepotism and clannishness into the military and the ancillary Security Agencies, that his government would be marked by supremacist and divisive policies that would push our country to the brink.
“Despite running the most nepotistic and narcissistic government in known history, there are no answers to the millions of young children on the streets in northern Nigeria, the north still has the worst indices of poverty, insecurity, stunting, squalor and destitution,” Mr Kukah said.
The Bishop accused Mr Buhari of “displaying the greatest degree of insensitivity in managing our country’s rich diversity.”
Mr Kukah also said the president has “subordinated the larger interests of the country to the hegemonic interests of his co-religionists and clansmen and women.”
The bishop, who heads the Catholic community in Sokoto State, said the “nepotistic conducts” of President Buhari has resulted in a “convulsion of the noble religion of Islam.”
“Today, in Nigeria, the noble religion of Islam has convulsed. Muslim scholars, traditional rulers and intellectuals have continued to cry out helplessly, asking for their religion and region to be freed from this chokehold.
“The Fulani, his innocent kinsmen, have become the subject of opprobrium, ridicule, defamation, calumny and obloquy. His north has become one large grave yard, a valley of dry bones, the nastiest and the most brutish part of our dear country,” Mr Kukah said.
According to the bishop, the sad events across the country are the results of Nigeria’s years of “hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and Pharisaism.”
Mr Kukah also disagreed with the arguments that the Boko Haram’s central objective had no religious inclination.
“We are being told that this situation has nothing to do with Religion. Really? It is what happens when politicians use religion to extend the frontiers of their ambition and power. Are we to believe that simply because Boko Haram kills Muslims too, they wear no religious garb?
“Are we to deny the evidence before us, of kidnappers separating Muslims from infidels or compelling Christians to convert or die? If your son steals from me, do you solve the problem by saying he also steals from you? Again, the Sultan got it right: let the northern political elite who have surrendered the space claim it back immediately.”
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Mr Kukah called on Nigerian Christians to return the hatred of the terrorist with love by praying for their conversion, as Jesus Christ instructed.
“Through Violence, you can murder the Terrorist, but you cannot end Terrorism. Through Violence, you can murder the Violent, but you cannot end Violence. These are the ways of the flesh. This is the challenge for us as Christians.
“Put back your sword (Mt. 26: 52). Turn the other cheek (Mt. 5:38). Pray for your enemy (Mt. 5: 44). Give the thief your cloak (Lk. 6:29). None of these makes sense to the human mind without faith,” Mr Kukah said.
About 2,436 persons from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Madagascar, South Africa, Congo, Mali, Spain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia responded to the calls for candle-light prayers on behalf of the late seminarian, the cleric said.