The Order of The Knights of Saint Mulumba Nigeria (KSM) has expressed displeasure with the stance of the federal government on the ‘Apologise or Quit Sokoto’ threat issued to Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, by a Muslim Solidarity Forum.
The Knights in a statement by the Supreme Knight, KSM, in Nigeria, Sir Diamond Ovueraye said that the statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu was but a sleight underhand rebuke of the Catholic Cleric instead of his traducers.
“The statement was a slap on the wrist for Bishop Kukah’s traducers, whose ill-advised and unfortunate threat negates the spirit of the Nigerian Constitution and unity of the nation,” the Knights said.
Ovueraye noted that security of lives and property was a prime responsibility of the government, while lamenting that the tongue-in-cheek slant of the statement was capable of emboldening the group to perpetrating acts that could be inimical to public safety.
He noted with dismay that while Shehu’s statement riled on the Bishop, it was deftly apologetic and patronising to a group that apparently demonstrated scant regards to the nation’s grundnorm, which guarantees freedom of movement and the inalienable rights of every Nigerian to live in any part of the country without let or hindrance.
Ovueraye also noted that a few days earlier, the federal government had through the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, reacted vigorously to Kukah’s Christmas day Homily, warranting further elucidation from the revered Bishop. He, therefore, implored the government to always be dispassionate in assessing what it considers criticism and to always take in good faith, constructive criticisms of its stewardship. Ovueraye said in the light of the needless furore that the federal government’s reaction to Bishop Kukah’s Christmas day Homily had generated, government should ensure that nothing untoward happens to Bishop Kukah and all others, who because of their love for Nigeria speak up when they see things going wrong.
“Let us demonstrate that irrespective of differences in tribe, religion and culture, we are all Nigerians. We must all look out for one another and contribute to building a virile nation, which we will be proud of,” he said.