The Federal Government on Saturday castigated the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Mathew Kukah, over claims that there could have been a military takeover or war in the country if President Muhammadu Buhari was not a Northern-Muslim with the nepotism and bloodshed that have characterized his administration.
The Catholic Bishop made the assertion in his Christmas message issued on Friday
But in an obvious response to the message, the Federal Government, in a statement issued by Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture on Saturday accused the Cleric of engaging in a subtle and disguised call for violent overthrow of government.
”Calling for a violent overthrow of a democratically-elected government, no matter how disguised such a call is, and casting a particular religion as violent is not what any religious leader should engage in, and certainly not in a season of peace,” the Minister said while adding that, “instigating regime change outside the ballot box is not only unconstitutional, but also an open call to anarchy.”
He therefore urged religious leaders in the country to refrain from stoking the embers of hatred and disunity, warning that resorting to scorched-earth rhetoric at this time could trigger unintended consequences.
”While religious leaders have a responsibility to speak truth to power, such truth must not come wrapped in anger, hatred, disunity and religious disharmony,” the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said.
He said it is particularly graceless and impious for any religious leader to use the period of Christmas, which is a season of peace, to stoke the embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity.
He said while some religious leaders, being human, may not be able to disguise their national leadership preference, they should refrain from stigmatizing the leader they have never supported anyway, using well-worn and disproved allegations of nepotism or whatever.
The Minister said whatever challenges Nigeria may be going through at this moment can only be tackled when all leaders and indeed all Nigerians come together, not when some people arrogantly engage in name-calling and finger-pointing.
The Catholic Cleric had in his 2020 Christmas message titled, ‘A nation in search of vindication’, on Friday lamented the growing insecurity in the country and northernisation of appointments under the Buhari government.
He 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 by reducing others in public life to second class status. 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.”