169 views | Stanley Ugagbe | January 19, 2021
The Nigerian Islamic human rights body, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Federal Government (FG) and the National Peace Committee (NPC) to desist from ‘imposing Bishop Mathew Hasan Kukah on Nigerian Muslims’.
In a statement on Tuesday by its Director, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC ‘reminded’ Muslims that they have the right to boycott any committee or event in which the ‘controversial bishop’ is involved.
It said “We have watched in utter consternation in the past four weeks as some groups added fuel to the flame in the Kukah controversy. In particular, the Nigerian Catholic Mission and Northern Christian groups have arrogantly endorsed Bishop Kukah’s incinerating Christmas statement instead of dousing tension. Neither has the National Peace Committee (NPC) helped matters with its silence.
“Kukah himself added salt to injury by telling us that he did not know how or where he insulted Muslims. It means he is not ready to show remorse. Kukah will not recognise the dignity of his Muslim neighbor. He still believes that Muslims are there for him to push around and lampoon like school children.
“Meanwhile several Islamic organisations including the Jamaatu Nasr il-Islam (JNI), the Nigerian Islamic Center, Zaria and the Sokoto Muslim Solidarity Forum have demanded Kukah’s resignation from that committee. It must be a huge joke if the Federal Government or the NPC think this matter can be swept under the carpet or that it would soon be overtaken by events.
“We insist that this is not one of such issues that will just melt away like ice cream under the burning desert sun. Successive Nigerian governments have created a larger than life image for Bishop Kukah by giving him lofty positions particularly in federal commissions and committees without any objection from Muslims. But Kukah failed to appreciate the grace of Nigerians particularly that of Muslims who have always endorsed such appointments.
“Unfortunately instead of a proper appraisal the bishop used every opportunity of his public profile to pour invectives on Muslims. The latter continued to tolerate him until his cup of ingratitude overflowed and spilled.
“You can force a horse to the river but you cannot force it to drink there. Mediation is a tripartite obligation. The two warring parties must be willing to come to the table. Both of them must also accept the mediator. A situation where one party has no confidence in the mediator necessitates bringing in a more credible person to mediate.
“Nigerian Muslims have told the National Peace Committee (NPC) that Bishop Kukah is no longer acceptable to them as Secretary and member of that Committee but surprisingly there is dead silence on the part of the NPC. Is that how to work for peace?
“NPC must scout around for a credible person to replace Kukah. We mean a non-controvertial personality, not a politician and not necessarily a religious leader. NPC may also want to go further if it so desires by coopting other middle-roaders and patriotic citizens.
“In case the NPC fails to act, Nigerian Muslims are hereby reminded that it is their Allah-given fundamental human right to boycott (or stage a walkout from) any event in which Bishop Mathew Hasan Kukah is involved either as the chairman, secretary, member, guest or speaker.
“It was Edmund Burke who said, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ and Abraham Lincoln complemented him by adding, ‘To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men’. Muslims must liberate themselves from Kukah’s grip if the NPC and FG refuse to tame this shrewd.”