SWITZERLAND, FEBRUARY 12 – Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, has remarked that Nigerian Christians have been betrayed. He however, said although peace was the road less travelled, non-violence and forgiveness was the only way for Nigerian Christians in the face of persecution.
Speaking on “FOR A TORMENTED NATION AND A BESIEGED FAITH,” in a homily at the funeral of a seminarian, Michael Nnamdi, who was killed by kidnappers, at Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna, Tuesday, the cleric said Nigerian Christians had been betrayed and were at war.
“However,” he noted, “Christianity parts ways with other religions when it comes to what to do with the enemy. Here, we must admit, Christianity stands alone. This is a challenge for us as Christians. “Others believe in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or that one can take either blood money or make some form of reparation one way or the other.
However, for us Christians, Jesus stands right in the middle with a message that is the opposite of all that is sensible to us as human beings. “Put back your sword (Mt. 26: 52). Turn the other cheek (Mt. 5:38).
Pray for your enemy (Mt. 5: 44). Give the thief your cloak (Lk. 6:29). None of these makes sense to the human mind without faith. This is why Jesus said the only solution is for us to be born again (Jn. 3:3).
“The challenge before us is to behold the face of Jesus and ask the question, Are we Born against hatred, anger, violence and vengeance? “There is hope, my dear friends. Are we angry? Yes, we are. Are we sad? Of course, we are. Are we tempted to vengeance? Indeed, we are. Do we feel betrayed? You bet. Do we know what to do? Definitely. Do we know when to do it? Why not? Do we know how? Absolutely. Are we in a war? Yes. But what would Christ have us do? “The only way He has pointed out to us is the non-violent way. It is the road less travelled, but it is the only way.”
“There is hope, my dear friends. Are we angry? Yes, we are. Are we sad? Of course, we are. Are we tempted to vengeance? Indeed, we are. Do we feel betrayed? You bet. Do we know what to do? Definitely. Do we know when to do it? Why not? Do we know how? Absolutely. Are we in a war? Yes. But what would Christ have us do? “The only way He has pointed out to us is the non-violent way. It is the road less travelled, but it is the only way.”
He also expressed dismay over the spate of killings in Nigeria, saying President Muhammadu Buhari was insensitive. “The President has displayed the greatest form of insensitivity in managing the affairs of the country,” he alleged.
said: “Prior to the 2015 general election, the President had promised to rout out the dreaded Boko Haram, buy regrettably, Buhari has reneged on that promise today.
“In Buhari’s speech at the prestigious Policy Think Tank, Chatham House in London, just before the elections, he said , ‘I as a retired General and a former Head of State, have always known about our soldiers. ”They are capable and they are well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty. If am elected President, the world will have no reason to worry about Nigeria. Nigeria will return to its stabilizing role in West Africa. We will pay sufficient attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service. “
”We will develop adequate and modern arms and ammunition. We will improve intelligence gathering and border patrols to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels. We will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development and promoting infrastructural development… we will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester. And I,Muhammadu Buhari,will always lead from the front.”
Continuing, Kukah said: “But the reverse was the case as the President continued to wallow in insensitivity and despotism, leaving out good governance in the country. “There is no need to make any further comments on this claim. No one in that hall or anywhere in Nigeria doubted the President who ran his campaign on a tank supposedly full of the fuel of integrity and moral probity.
”No one could have imagined that in winning the Presidency, General Buhari would bring nepotism and clannishness into the military and the ancillary security agencies, that his government would be marked by supremacist and divisive policies that would push our country to the brink.
“This President has displayed the greatest degree of insensitivity in managing our country’s rich diversity. He has subordinated the larger interests of the country to the hegemonic interests of his co-religionists and clansmen and women.”
“The impression created now is that, to hold a key and strategic position in Nigeria today, it is more important to be a northern Muslim than a Nigerian,” he said.
Kukah, who noted that the nation was currently at crossroads and its future hanging in the balance precariously, said further: “Our nation is like a ship stranded on the high seas, rudderless and with broken navigational aids. ”Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and Pharisaism have caught up with us. Nigeria is on the crossroads and its future hangs precariously in a balance. This is a wake up call for us,”
Noting that with the ways things were going, Nigeria was not worth dying for, Kukah said: “Nigeria is at a point where we must call for a verdict. There must be something that a man, nay, a nation should be ready to die for.
“Sadly, or even tragically, today, Nigeria, does not possess that set of goals or values for which any sane citizen is prepared to die for her. Perhaps, I should correct myself and say that the average office holder is ready to die to protect his office but not for the nation that has given him or her that office. The Yorubas say if it takes you 25 years to practice madness, how much time would you have to put it into real life?
”We have practiced madness for too long. Our attempt to build a nation has become like the agony of Sisyphus who angered the gods and had to endure the frustration of rolling a stone up the mountain.
“Each time he got near the top, the gods would tip the stone back and he would go back to start all over again. What has befallen our nation?”
He added that Buhari remained the only President in the history of the country that had ran the “most nepotistic and narcissistic government in known history.” He said: “Today, in Nigeria, the noble religion of Islam has convulsed. It has become associated with some of worst fears among our people. Muslim scholars, traditional rulers and intellectuals have continued to cry out helplessly, asking for their religion and region to be freed from this chokehold.
“This is because, in all of this, neither Islam nor the north can identify any real benefits from these years that have been consumed by the locusts that this government has unleashed on our country.
“The Fulani, his innocent kinsmen, have become the subject of opprobrium, ridicule, defamation, calumny and obloquy. His north has become one large grave yard, a valley of dry bones, the nastiest and the most brutish part of our dear country.
“Why have the gods rejected this offering? Despite running the most nepotistic and narcissistic government in known history, there are no answers to the millions of young children on the streets in northern Nigeria, the north still has the worst indices of poverty, insecurity, stunting, squalor and destitution. On persecution of Christians in North,“Kukah said the persecution of Christians in the north was as old as the modern Nigerian state.
“We are being told that this situation has nothing to do with religion. Really? It is what happens when politicians use religion to extend the frontiers of their ambition and power.
“Are we to believe that simply because Boko Haram kills Muslims too, they wear no religious garb? Are we to deny the evidence before us, of kidnappers separating Muslims from infidels or compelling Christians to convert or die? “If your son steals from me, do you solve the problem by saying he also steals from you? Again, the Sultan got it right: let the northern political elite who have surrendered the space claim it back immediately.”
Amid tears, the slain 18-year-old Seminarian, Michael Nnadi, was laid to rest in K at the school premises in Kaduna yesterdayv at about 1:30pm along the Kaduna – Abuja expressway. Nnadi was one of the four seminarians of the Good Shepherds Major Seminary School, Kaukau, abducted by bandits suspected to be kidnappers at the school premises.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, has described, as misleading, a comment on the President, Major General Mohammed Buhari (retd.) by the Bishop Matthew Kukah.
In a response sent to newsmen, the Head, Media and Communications, NSCIA, Ibrahim Aselemi said utterances of religious leaders should be guided by cohesion.
He stated, “The comments by Rev Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, a leader we admire so much is very unfortunate. As religious leaders, our utterances should be guided by trio of national cohesion, security and love for our fatherland.
“The comments are misleading and carefully crafted to weaken the confidence of Nigerians on Buhari’s government. Are the duo of Emefiele and Obiora Muslims from the North? Yet, Buhari appointed them Governor and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Rev Fr Kukah is being economical with the truth.”