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Bishop Kukah lambasts Buhari, says Nigeria “is falling apart. We have never been this divided”

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassa Kukah, delivered his most scathing criticism of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that under him, Nigeria “is falling apart. We have never been this divided.”

Bishop Kukah, who spoke during his virtual presentation to the U.S. Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, DC held on Tuesday evening, said Nigerians were yet to see any tangible move towards tackling insecurity.

According to Kukah, “things are unraveling under Buhari. The government is either helpless or unconcerned and nepotistic. Every outlet has been islamized. Buhari is spending billions of dollars on a railway to another country when his own people can’t feed. Bishop Hassan Kukah to US.”

Bishop Kukah had joined eight other leaders around the world to testify on ‘The State of Religious Freedom Around the Globe’ at the United States (U.S.) Congress, Washington DC.

The hearing focused on four countries – China, Iran, Pakistan and Nigeria – “where religious freedom is threatened either due to state repression or the sustained failure of the government to contain non-State actors intent on religious persecution.”

The hearing coincided with the Non-Governmental International Religious Freedom Summit holding July 13-15, 2021 in the U.S.

Kukah, who also addressed the U.S. Congress over the rising insecurity in the country as it affects religious persecution, said the administration of President Buhari has been unable to tackle the security challenges as it promised to do before taking power in 2015.

Stating that the fight against insecurity was one of the major campaign promises of Buhari in the build up to the 2015 elections, the outspoken Bishop accused Buhari of deliberately appointing more people of his ethnicity and faith into political offices.

Said Kukah: “The North, even the whole country, is invaded by armed bandits, kidnappers etc, who attack communities at will. The fact that the government seems to be either helpless or uninterested in dealing decisively with these people has added more confusion.

“The contradiction here is that the President has blatantly pursued nepotistic agenda and policies that show very clearly his preference for men and women of his faith.

“For the first time in Nigeria, the people heading the three arms of government – President, Senate President, Speaker and Chief Justice – are all Muslims. These are all fine gentlemen, but that is not the point. The level of rivalry between Christians and Muslims has worsened. This kind of situation has never happened before.

“The story of Leah Sharibu suggests very clearly that there is, in many instances, a relationship between the conditions in which people find themselves and their faith.

“In 2020, some of our priests in the North were killed. The extremists kidnapped our children and forcefully converted them to Muslims. What is significant here is that we are in a democracy; with weak structures and institutions. These are existential issues. So, we require practical assistance that can help us and our children.”

U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, said: “I’m not happy with President Buhari. I represent the most Nigerian Americans in American – Houston. I studied Nigeria and studied in Nigeria in Lagos. I will be meeting with Nigeria advocates in the coming weeks.”

Though The Presidency is yet to officially react to Kukah’s latest comments to the U.S. Congress, in April, Presidential Spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, accused the Catholic Bishop of playing partisan politics.

Kukah had then said the Boko Haram crisis had worsened under Buhari.

But Shehu said that “Father Kukah has said some things that are inexplicable in his Easter massage. But, in saying that the Boko Haram terrorism is worse than it was in 2015, he did not speak like a man of God. Kukah should go to Borno or Adamawa to ask the citizens there the difference between 2014 and 2021.”

Bishop Kukah had joined eight other leaders around the world to testify on ‘The State of Religious Freedom Around the Globe’ at the United States (U.S.) Congress, Washington DC.

The hearing focused on four countries – China, Iran, Pakistan and Nigeria – “where religious freedom is threatened either due to state repression or the sustained failure of the government to contain non-State actors intent on religious persecution.”

The hearing coincided with the Non-Governmental International Religious Freedom Summit holding July 13-15, 2021 in the U.S.

Apart from Bishop Kukah, other speakers include Bob Fu (Founder and President, China Aid), Anthony Vance (Director of Overseas Programs, Bahá’ís of the United States), Amjad Mahmood Khan (National Director of Public Affairs, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) and Nadine Maenza, Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Others still include Dr. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (Professor of Political Science and Religious Studies and the Crown Chair in Middle East Studies, Northwestern University), Reverend Susan Hayward (Associate Director, Religious Literacy and Professions Initiative, Harvard Divinity School) and Gulzira Auyelkhan (Kazakh Muslim minority from Xinjiang).

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