By Nwafor Sunday
…Show me a video of Kukah calling for violence against Muslims, I will give you N1m – Fani-kayode
“Father Kukah has greatly offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric”.
The above statement was made by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, at the whelm when a Muslim group called ‘Muslim Solidarity Forum’, insisted that the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, must leave Sokoto and apologise to Muslim over his comment against Islam.
In a statement obtained by Vanguard, Garba asked the group to allow Kukah practice his faith.
His words: “Under our Constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions. Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity.
“The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution. The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the Constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians.
Father Kukah has greatly offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric.
“On matters such as these, responsible leadership in any society must exercise restraint. Knee-jerk reactions will not only cause the fraying of enduring relationships, but also the evisceration of peaceful communities such as Sokoto, the headquarters of the Muslim community as beacon of pluralism and tolerance.
“The Sultanate has historically had good relations with followers of all faiths. That is why Father Kukah was received on his arrival in Sokoto with friendship and tolerance.
“Under our laws, groups or factions must not give quit notices, neither should they unilaterally sanction any perceived breaches. Where they occur, it is the courts of law that should adjudicate. Unilateral action is not the way to go.
“Groups such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must be seen to share and uphold the country’s multi-religious principles. And individuals like Father Kukah must respect the feelings of his fellow Nigerians in his private and public utterances.”
Meanwhile, a former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has equally intervened, promising to give one million naira to anyone with a video of Kukah calling for violence against Muslims or inciting people against Islam.
His words: “Bishop Hassan Kukah did not attack Islam & has nothing to apologise about. He has always sought for religious tolerance & peaceful co-existence between Christians & Muslims. Those that demand that he “must apologise” or “leave Sokoto” must mind their utterances & 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.”