President Muhammadu Buhari cannot exonerate himself from the current upsurge in the activities of Boko Haram, by promoting policies that suggests special treatment for Muslims in Nigeria, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto State, Matthew Hassan Kukah has said.
Speaking to Aid to Church in Need, a UK non-profit organisation, the cleric accused the President of discriminatory appointments, that have left Christians out of most government positions, arguing that such a treatment, had given the insurgents the impetus to act, believing that they were special.
Kukah, who spoke in the aftermath of a string of attacks on Christians by Islamist groups in recent times including the Christmas eve’s killing of seven in an attack on a Christian village in northern Nigeria and the video released on Boxing Day by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), showing the beheading of 10 Christians and the shooting of one Muslim on Christmas Day.
Kukah, who expressed anger with what he described as the lopsided appointments made by President Buhari, argued that the situation was giving more life to the mind-set of the supremacy of Islam, adding that by filling key government positions with Muslims, including figures sympathetic to Islam; the Buhari government was giving tacit approval to more extreme groups.
He said: “The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is Boko Haram is holding a bomb. The Federal Government is using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence. If the people in power don’t do enough to integrate Christians, then they give oxygen to Islamism. If they have countries where everybody in power is Muslim; then you give vent to the idea that Islam should be supreme. Given this situation, it is hard to see the moral basis they have to defeat Boko Haram…The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is that Boko Haram is holding a bomb.”
The respected cleric and erudite scholar, also lampooned Western governments for not doing enough to find solution to the problem, outside of being more interested in the natural resources of Nigeria than in the citizenry.
His words: “Western nations are not doing enough. They have shown that the resources of Africa are more important than the ordinary people. Clearly, the Western nations could have reduced the influence of Boko Haram by 80 or 90 percent. They have deliberately not done enough,” Bishop Kukah declared.
“Christians have every reason to feel insecure and also there is a general feeling of their marginalisation from the political process. If the principles of our religion were different, there would be a civil war by now. It is the glory of our religion that this hasn’t happened. It is difficult to preach peace in this context. Any resolution depends on how Christians decide to react. They won’t use violence but what will they do?”