The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has told the United States (U.S.) Congress Commission that the Federal Government is helpless in the face of security challenges, which it promised to address before taking power in 2015.
Kukah said this yesterday during his virtual presentation on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria by armed extremist groups in the North, to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, DC, U.S. He said the people were yet to see any tangible move towards tackling insecurity, which, according to him, has a religious undertone.
The Secretary of the National Peace Committee accused President Muhammadu Buhari of deliberately appointing more people of his ethnicity and faith into political offices.
He said: “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.”
The cleric also said: “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.”
In his testimony before the U.S. Congress Commission, the human rights activist claimed that religious violence against Christians in Nigeria was a recurring experience of many years, but that the spate of the attacks rose steadily in the last 10 years.
According to the fiery bishop, the extremists target mainly Christian schools in the North, indoctrinate the children and convert the girls to wives, cooks, spies, sexual slaves and so on.
“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,” he said.