Following the Secretary of National Peace Committee, Bishop Hassan Mathew Kukah’s Christmas message where he called for a coup in Nigeria and referred to Islam as a violent religion, an Islamic organisation, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked the Bishop to recuse self from the committee.
The call was made by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a statement he made available to newsmen on Wednesday, 30th December, 2020.
“It will be recalled that Bishop Mathew Hasan Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese indirectly called for a coup and referred to Islam as a violent religion about four days ago. We strongly believe that those pronouncements are inconsistent with the bishop’s status particularly as the secretary of Nigeria’s Peace Committee.
“How did such a belligerent combatant emerge as the secretary of Nigeria’s Peace Committee? What good can come from a man who is filled with hate and bias for a large section of the country? He calls for a coup against a democratically elected government. He stigmatized Islam as a violent religion. He derides the North. We demand that Kukah should honourably recuse himself from the Peace Committee. Failure to do so will have a devastating effect of discrediting that committee. It will mean that the committee was set up in the first place for a partisan purpose,” he said.
Stating further why Kukah must leave the committee, Prof Akintola said, “This is because many see Bishop Kukah as the de facto leader of the Committee. The Peace Committee must clarify some issues surrounding its formation and modus operandi. Whose idea was the whole thing from the beginning? Where is the committee’s secretariat? Is it true that the whole committee was Kukah’s initiative ab initio? Is it also true that its secretariat is headed and managed by the director of the Kukah Center? If that is so, General Abdulsalam must have been persuaded to come on board and serve as the chairman just to give legitimacy and credibility to the idea.
“This Peace Committee has a credibility crisis on its hands unless it can remove Kukah as secretary and as a member if the bishop fails to recuse himself. Nigerian Muslims no longer have any confidence in the Peace Committee. It may as well disband while the members go home to sleep.”
“This is the honourable thing for the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese to do in view of the humongous allegation levelled against him. A national peace committee needs wide acceptance from the general populace in order to function effectively. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the true situation on ground at present.
Prof Akintola said it became more worrisome when the Catholics Missions threw weight of support for the statement made by Bishop Kukah as he said the Nigerian Muslims no longer have confidence on the peace committee.
He said: “Nigerian Muslims have no confidence in the Peace Committee as long as Kukah remains its secretary and member. He has failed to remain neutral. His bias against Muslims has been openly displayed. Rev. Fr. Kukah should recuse himself, otherwise the committee has to disband.
“This has become necessary in view of the jaundiced position taken by the Catholic mission yesterday in an official statement. Nigerian Catholics declared their full backing of the preposterous pronouncements of Bishop Kukah. In that situation, it is no longer acceptable to leave the destiny of the Peace Committee in the hands of the Catholic Bishop.
“The question must be asked: who is the secretary of the Peace Committee? Kukah or the Catholic Diocese? A situation whereby Kukah issues a highly combustible statement and the Nigerian Catholic Mission backs him calls for caution.”