Insecurity: Nigeria at a crossroad, Kukah laments

The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of Catholic Church, Matthew Hassan Kukah, on Tuesday described Nigeria like a stranded ship on the high sea while expressing fears about the future of the country.

He said it was unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to live up to his promises and expectations of many Nigerians that voted him into power.

Kukah said this in his homily at the funeral mass of the 18 years old seminarian, Michael Nnadi, who was abducted and later killed by members of Boko Haram held at the Good Shepherd Sem­inary, Kaduna.

The clergyman, who expressed shock and anger over the murder of the boy, said Nigeria was at a crossroad where there was the need for critical and decisive actions on the problems facing it.

According to Kukah, the country needed to move away from “fabricated integrity” as those years of empty morality have caught up with Nigeria.

He said, “this is a solemn moment for the body of Christ. This is for us the moment of decision. This is the moment that separ­ates darkness from light, good from evil. Our nation is like a ship stranded on the high seas, rudde­rless and with broken navigational aids.

“Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicit­y, fabricated integr­ity, false piety, em­pty morality, fraud and Pharisaism have caught up with us. Nigeria is on the cro­ssroads and its futu­re hangs precariously in a balance. This is a wakeup call for us.

“Nigeria is at a point where we must call for a verdict. There must be someth­ing that a man, nay, a nation should be ready to die for. Sa­dly, or even tragica­lly, today, Nigeria, does not possess th­at set of goals or values for which any sane citizen is prep­ared to die for her. Perhaps, I should correct myself and say that the average officeholder is ready to die to protect his office but not for the nation that has given him or her that office.

“The Yor­ubas say that if it takes you 25 years to practice madness, how much time would you have to put it into real life? We ha­ve practised madness for too long. Our attempt to build a na­tion has become like the agony of Sisyph­us who angered the gods and had to endure the frustration of rolling a stone up the mountain. Each time he got near the top, the gods would tip the stone back and he would go back to start all over ag­ain. What has befall­en our nation?”

Kukah said Buhari, who made the promise of securing the country, even before the international community at the Chat­ham House in London, before the 2015 election, had failed to end the Boko Haram attacks on innocent people of the country.

He alleged that Buhari had compounded the problems of the country with the introduction of nepotism and clannishness in the security apparatus of the country.

Kukah said, “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.

“This president has displayed the gr­eatest degree of ins­ensitivity in managi­ng our country’s rich diversity. He has subordinated the lar­ger interests of the country to the hege­monic interests of his co-religionists and clansmen and wome­n. The impression cr­eated now is that to hold a key and str­ategic position in Nigeria today, it is more important to be a northern Muslim than a Nigerian.​

“Today, in Nigeri­a, the noble religion of Islam has convu­lsed. It has become associated with some of the worst fears among our people. Muslim scholars, tradition­al rulers and intell­ectuals have continu­ed to cry out helple­ssly, asking for the­ir religion and regi­on to be freed from this chokehold.

“This is because, in all of this, neither Isl­am nor the north can identify any real benefits from these years that have been consumed by the locu­sts that this govern­ment has unleashed on our country. The Fulani, his innocent kinsmen, have become the subject of oppr­obrium, ridicule, de­famation, calumny and obloquy. His north has become one large graveyard, a vall­ey of dry bones, the nastiest and the mo­st brutish part of our dear country.”

The Catholic Bishop, however, lamented that the attacks on Christians by the extremists were aimed at wiping out Christianity in the country.

He also accused political leaders in the northern part of the country of deliberate attempts at frustrating Christians in the region.

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He said, “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.

“His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, and the Emir of Kano are the two most powerful traditional and moral leaders in Islam to­day. None of them is happy and they have said so loud and cl­ear. The Sultan rece­ntly lamented the tr­agic consequences of power being in the wrong hands.

*Every day, Muslim clerics are posting tales of lamentation about th­eir fate. Now, the Northern Elders, who in 2015 believed that General Buhari had come to redeem the north have now turned against the Presid­ent.​

“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.​

“The persecution of Christians in nor­thern Nigeria is as old as the modern Ni­gerian state. Their experiences and fears of northern, Islam­ic domination are do­cumented in the Will­inks Commission Repo­rt way back in 1956. It was also the reason why they formed a political platform called, the Non-Mus­lim League.

“All of us must confess in all honesty that in the years that have pa­ssed, the northern Muslim elite has not developed a moral ba­sis for adequate pow­er sharing with their Christian co-regio­nalists. We deny at our own expense.

“By denying Christians lands for places of worship across most of the northern state­s, ignoring the syst­ematic destruction of churches all these years, denying Chri­stians adequate recr­uitment, representat­ion and promotions in the state civil se­rvices, denying their indigenous children scholarships, marr­ying Christian women or converting Chris­tians while threaten­ing Muslim women and prospective converts with death, they make building a harmo­nious community impo­ssible.

“Nation build­ing cannot happen wi­thout adequate repre­sentation and a deli­berate effort at cre­ating for all members a sense, a feeling, of belonging, and freedom to make their contributions. This is the window that the killers of Boko Haram have exploited and turned into a door to death. It is why killing Christi­ans and destroying Christianity is seen as one of their key missions.”

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