A northern youth group has attacked popular clergyman Bishop Matthew Kukah for, according to it, inciting a military coup against President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kukah had in a Christmas message warned that Nigeria could collapse under the weight of what he described as Buhari’s nepotism and incompetence.
He said no northern group would tolerate the failings of the Nigerian government if they occured under a president from the south. The Catholic bishop’s comments followed rising waves of insecurity and economic hardship in the country.
“This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness,” Kukah said.
“The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension.
“Are we going to remain hogtied by these evil men or are they gradually becoming part of a larger plot to seal the fate of our country?”
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) now says Kukah is hiding under religion to play politics.
“Such a reckless statement by Kukah betrays something much more sinister against both the North and the nation as a whole because Nigeria is at a stage that it requires responsible advice for attaining peace and stability, not deliberate attempt to mischievously compound our problems,” AYCF president Yerima Shettima said in a statement.
“If Kukah wants to play politics, he should not do so in the pulpit and he should keep the Bishop’s office aside and choose any Nigerian political party platform to contest for President in 2023 and stop all the pretence.
“We will not allow opportunists who did not make any contribution to scuttle the democracy achieved through our sweat and toil and the sacrifice of our liberty,” he said.
Kukah is not the first religious leader to criticise the Buhari government.
Pastor Enoch. A. Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was attacked by the presidency after demanding that Nigeria implements restructuring to address security and economic issues. Buhari himself called Adeboye and those calling for restructuring “unpatriotic elements”.
But when the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, came for the Buhari government, the presidency failed to respond in kind.