The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday described critics of Matthew Kukah, Sokoto Catholic Bishop, as miscreants and lawless citizens.
The christian body made the assertion while reacting to criticism that trailed the 2020 christmas message of the catholic cleric.
Mr Kukah had last year lambasted the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the Nigerian leader of institutionalizing nepotism which a non-northern muslim leader dare not try a fraction and go scot free without being toppled.
His comments supported by the Catholic Church has generated mixed reactions with mostly Muslims groups attacking him, saying by criticising the president the cleric was apparently frowning at all Muslims.
The Muslim Solidarity Forum in its reaction ordered the Bishop to apologise or leave Sokoto State. The command has angered CAN which has warned that nothing must happen to the cleric else the nation might have itself to blame.
“We have been watching the unfolding scenario since Bishop Kukah spoke his mind on the State of the Nation in his Christmas homily and how some groups of people have been threatening him with ﬁre and brimstone while all relevant security agencies are pretending as if nothing unusual is happening,” a statement from Joseph Daramola, secretary-general of CAN read.
“We have studied the whole Christmas message of Dr Kukah and we are yet to see any incitement against Islam or non- Christians. We see nothing wrong in his message to the nation that has been under the siege of terrorists, herdsmen killers, bandits and kidnappers as if there was no government in place. We see nothing wrong in telling a government whose lopsided appointments are against Christians the whole truth.
“If criticism against a Muslim President today, is an incitement to violence against Islam, it then means those who were criticising the duo of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan when they were in power were actually attacking Christianity.
“When has it become an offence to speak the truth to power? When has it become a crime to criticise a government in the country?
“When did the Police and the Directorate of the State Security Services lose their power to miscreants and lawless people who are making boasts of their lawlessness without a challenge? We wonder if those Muslim groups who are threatening to deal with Kukah got equal response from their Christian counterparts, are we not setting up the country on ﬁre?
“Bishop Kukah was posted to serve in Sokoto by the Papacy and threatening him to leave is a global threat to Christianity. In this same country, we have a Catholic Priest whose name is synonymous with President Muhammadu Buhari yet the Catholic Church has not deemed it ﬁt to sanction him because Freedom of Speech and Association is not only a constitutional matter but godly.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari and all the security agencies to ensure that no harm befalls the Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah. As far as the Christian Association of Nigeria is concerned, what he said in his Christmas Homily was still within the ambience of the law,” the statement added.