Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, has faulted the call by a group that the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, should leave the state, following the latter’s Christmas message.
An Islamic group, Muslim Solidarity Forum, Sokoto, had advised Kukah to quietly leave Sokoto or stop what it termed “his malicious vituperations against Islam and Muslims”.
The group’s acting chairman, Professor Isa Maishanu, in a statement, noted that the bishop with his statement was trying to break the age-long peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
The group was reacting to the Catholic bishop’s Christmas message in which he accused President Muhammadu Buhari of institutionalising northern hegemony while reducing other parts of the country to second-class status.
The statement became controversial as it was condemned by the Nigerian government, and some northern and Islamic group.
He, however, received support from the Catholic church, pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, among others.
Maishanu, in a statement, directed Muslim leaders, who out of magnanimity had been showing goodwill to Kukah to realise that he is taking their kindness for granted.
According to him, the bishop doesn’t appreciate the gesture but fiercely attacks them at any given opportunity.
The statement said, “In February 2020, he (Kukah) shamelessly staged a demonstration in the heart of Sokoto over the killing of a single Christian priest, presumably, by the Boko Haram insurgents, but did not consider hundreds of Muslims, Fulani herders that were mercilessly killed by the Christian militia in Taraba state in 2018.”
Reacting, Fani-Kayode insisted that Kukah did not attack Muslims in his Christmas message, while promising to give out N1 million to anyone who can provide him with a video of the Catholic bishop calling for violence against Muslims or inciting people against Islam.
In a series of tweets, Fani-Kayode wrote, “Bishop Hassan Kukah did not attack Islam and has nothing to apologise about. He has always sought religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims. Those that demand that he ‘must apologise’ or ‘leave Sokoto’ must mind their utterances and keep the peace.
“If anyone can provide me with a video of Kukah calling for violence against Muslims or inciting people against Islam, I will give him one million naira.”
Kukah had said there would have been a coup or war in the country if a non-Northern Muslim President had practised a fraction of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘nepotism’.
The bishop warned that although Christians would not fight back, “God does not sleep”.
He had said, “This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness.
“The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension. Are we going to remain hogtied by these evil men or are they gradually becoming part of a larger plot to seal the fate of our country?
“President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony. He has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.
“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 gotten 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.
“He may be right and we Christians cannot feel sorry that we have no pool of violence to draw from or threaten our country. However, God does not sleep. We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North.”