Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has denied calling for a coup against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The bishop had in a Christmas message criticised the Buhari government for failing to secure the country. He also said the government was biased in favour of the north. Kukah also accused Buhari of nepotism, adding that no northern group would tolerate the administration’s incompetence were it to happen under a president from the south.
Kukah now says his criticism of the president was being misreported by a section of the Nigerian media. He said he never called for a coup or insurrection against the president as was being reported by some.
Kukah made the clarification during a press conference held at St. Bakhita Secretariat in Sokoto on Monday night.
“I am pained and very sad that my emergency critics never see that many innocent lives are being lost daily,” Kukah said.
“The loss of lives in the last ten years, even before this administration’s advent, calls for concern.
“The reactions are a reflection of every citizen that make up Nigeria. It is sad that when you drop something in Nigeria, everybody goes back to their enclave and abandon the larger picture. I am someone who never takes offence to what people say about me.
“What I said was my opinion based on evidence and what has happened in Nigeria, and if you looked into the records, there is evidence that justifies that statement, and if anyone thinks I am wrong, they should come out with a superior position.
“It is unfair for a journalist or news medium to report that I called for a coup while expressing my personal view about Nigeria,” h said.
In the wave of Kukah’s initial comments, northern youth urged the bishop to stop hiding under religion to play politics. They said he should focus on advising the government, not criticising it.
“I have no plan and will never play partisan politics for any reason,” Kukah responded.
“Those who link my message to partisan politics are only playing to the gallery.
“Take, for instance, brilliant Nigerian youths making comments about Chelsea or Arsenal and have never been to England, does that make them players of such club sides?
“So, why will someone think because Bishop Kukah is speaking; therefore, he is a politician? People who make this argument are ignorant of elementary politics and ignorant of the role of a priest.
“The truth is that a lot of us have not seen a priest saying what I am saying. The fact of the matter is, we are all in politics, but party politics for me, no. I am not a member of any political party, and I cannot be. If it comes to voting, I do my right.
“Whatever I said can please or displease anyone, but that is my own opinion and doesn’t stop others from saying their own opinion. If you think my motive is wrong, say yours.
“I have no problem with Muslims, Christians, or any other religion, but what I don’t like is when someone is using a religious issue to play politics, it is wrong.”