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.
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.”