The presidency has reacted to the Easter message of Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, saying his words are ungodly.
Kukah had in the message berated the government on the way it handles security issues.
He had said: “Sadly, human life is hemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power. Mysteriously, the government is investing billions of naira in rehabilitating so-called Boko Haram repentant members and their other partners in crime in the belief that they want to turn a new leaf.
“These criminals have waged war against their country, murdered thousands of citizens, destroyed infrastructure and rendered entire families permanently displaced and dislocated. Why should rehabilitating the perpetrator be more important than bringing succour to the victims?
“When kidnapped or killed, victims and their families are left to their wits. They cry alone, bury their loved ones alone. And our government expects us to be patriotic? The victims of violence need empathy, which the dictionary defines as the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other.
“A critical deficit of empathy on the side of the government makes healing almost impossible for the victims. We have not heard anything about a rehabilitation programme for the thousands of schoolchildren who have been victims of abduction.”
But in a statement titled “Kukah’s Buhari Bashing Is Ungodly ” signed by the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, Kukah is accused of having an ideology which stands in the way of facts and fairness.
The statement read: “All citizens have their individual ideologies, even their own versions of truth.
“But if you profess to being a man of God, as Father Mathew Hassan Kukah does, ideology should not stand in the way of facts and fairness.
“Father Kukah has said some things that are inexplicable in his Easter massage.
“But, in saying that the Boko Haram terrorism is worse than it was in 2015, he did not speak like a man of God. Kukah should go to Borno or Adamawa to ask the citizens there the difference between 2014 and 2021. Furthermore, the Hijab issue in Kwara State on which he dwelt is a state matter which the courts of the land have adjudicated. They are matters that have appeared in several states as far back as the Obasanjo administration. In all of that, when and where did the name of President Buhari feature?
“He is playing partisan politics by dragging the President into it.
“An administration that has created a whole Ministry, for the first time in the country’s history, appropriating enormous resources to it, to deal with issues of internally displaced persons cannot, in all rightfulness be accused of not caring for them.
“Some of the comments are no more than a sample of the unrestrained rhetoric Fr. Kukah trades in, which he often does in the guise of a homily.
“We urge well-meaning citizens to continue to support the ongoing efforts by the administration to secure the country and move it forward.”