By Babajide Okeowo
- Stop Attacking Islam, Muslims Says JNI
- Nigeria Needs Urgent Salvation, Says Kukah
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah’s Christmas Homily has continued to generate heated reactions with the latest offensive coming from the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI.
JNI, the umbrella body for Muslims, and headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar warned Kukah against attacking Islam and Muslims.
In a strongly-worded statement issued yesterday in Kaduna and signed by the Secretary-General of the Muslim body, the JNI said the Catholic Bishop “should not take Muslims kindness for timidity or foolishness.”
“The attention of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam has been drawn to an irresponsible and seditious Christmas message issued by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah.
Though the message is disguised as political hogwash to deceive the innocent, there is no doubt that it was a poisoned arrow fired at the heart of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria, hence the need for this intervention.
The Bishop’s statement was a prepared address considering the occasion and the audience, one cannot but agree that it was a calculated attempt to insult Islam which is typical of him.
His veiled insinuation that Muslims have a pool of violence to draw from, is disgusting, disheartening, as well as condemnable.
Responsibly, Christmas homilies should come with messages of hope, unity, mercy, the forgiveness of the Supreme Being, and resilience through prayers, especially in this trying time.
The Bishop’s message was however a clear deviation from the well-established norm across the globe.
Kukah is the Bishop of the Sokoto diocese located at the seat of the Caliphate and the heart of Islam and Islamic scholarship, culture, and practices in sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite the status of Sokoto to the Muslims and Islamic history, Bishop Kukah was warmly welcomed, accepted, accommodated, and accorded respect deserving of his position as a religious leader.
Across the length and breadth of Northern Nigeria, Kukah has friends and associates among the Muslim society. Without fear of any contradiction, he is most accepted and accommodated Christian clergy to the leaders of the Muslims in the north.
They accorded him all the support he needed, despite some reservations from some quarters about his tendencies to bite the fingers that feed him.
Despite the liberality, congeniality, and camaraderie extended to Bishop Kukah in Sokoto and all over the Muslim north, he throws all sense of decorum and common sense to the wind and fired invective salvos on the Muslims and Islam without any justification.
By this and his several similar inane attacks against Islam and the Muslims, the Bishop has lost the friendship and the hospitality of the entire Muslim populace.
How can the Muslims continue to be hospitable to the one who proves to be ingrate many times over?
How can the Muslims be comfortable in associating with a bitterly vindictive person disguised in the garb of religious clergy?
It is mind-boggling to imagine why Bishop Kukah is always keen on pushing at the National fault lines; religion, tribe, and north-south divide?
His fiery and equally violence-inciting speech at the burial of the late Governor Yakowa of Kaduna State (in 2012) is still fresh in our memories.
Bishop Kukah should not take Muslims’ kindness for timidity or foolishness. In being accommodative and kind, the Muslims are adhering to the teaching of the Glorious Quran that even in times of war the Muslims should offer assistance to those who seek their protection. Quran chapter 9 verse 6 is categorical on this” JNI warned.
Meanwhile, the man at the center of the storm has reiterated that there should be a sense of urgency in trying to salvage the country from the present critical state.
In his sermon at the Wake keep Mass for His Grace, Archbishop Peter Yariyock Jatau at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Kaduna on Tuesday, Kukah rebuked corrupt politicians, accusing them of adopting contractocracy as a governance mechanism.
“Today, our dear nation is like the proverbial farmer searching for his black goat. He has to do it with a sense of urgency because the darkness is setting in as the sun quickly recedes.
Our nation has become one huge waste of land, huge debris of deceit, lies, treachery, double-dealing, and duplicity. Nigerian politicians have turned our politics into a huge Trojan horse, a hoax, a hall of guile, and dissimulation.
The levels of frustration are rising by the day and we can see all this in the rise in domestic violence and inter-communal conflicts. A combination of all these has turned us unto a nation at war with itself,” he said.
In the sermon titled, “A Nation in Search of Its Soul”, Kukah mocked corrupted government officials who pretend to religious while wallowing in a sinful lifestyle.
“Nigerians complain that the country is full of churches and mosques and they cannot find the values of these religions in everyday life. We sin at home by stealing the resources of the nation but we seek repentance and forgiveness in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem in the guise of lesser or higher pilgrimages.
We make money from abandoning projects duly paid for by governments that have adopted Contractocracy as a governance mechanism. We are allowing others to use our money to develop their own infrastructure. Our elite all assembled in Dubai for Christmas and also to welcome the New Year.
As virtue recedes into the sunset in our country, there is an urgent need for us to pause and take stock of what is required to save our country,” he said.
Kukah said that remembering Archbishop Jatau is an opportunity to recall the contributions of Christian Missionaries and Christian education to laying the foundation for the production of the quality and caliber of men and women of yesterday whose legendary moral fiber still resonates in Nigeria today.