By Anayima Abo
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has described the statement by a group asking Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah to apologize or leave Sokoto State as a contradiction of the provisions of the Constitution which accord Nigerians the right to live freely in any part of the country.
According to Ortom, the action of the group is a clear affirmation that Nigeria is being controlled by forces which are bent on setting the country ablaze if their interests are not guaranteed.
Governor Ortom who was reacting to the statement credited to a group known as Muslim Solidarity Forum who asked Bishop Kukah to tender an unreserved apology over his Christmas message or quit Sokoto State, called on Nigerians, irrespective of religious and political affiliations to uphold unity, peace and dialogue as panacea for the myriad of problems confronting the country.
The Governor who spoke through the Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase said, Nigerians both Christians and Muslims need to set aside religious and other sentiments to come together in humility to fast and pray for peace and unity of the country, rather than the current situation where some persons are fanning embers of disunity and hatred.
“The Holy Bible admonishes the people to pray for their leaders but what is happening in the country at the moment is beyond human comprehension and cannot be tackle by President Muhammadu Buhari alone, so if we really love our country, we need to desist from making inflammatory statements capable of heightening tensions and taking the country to the precipice of chaos and disintegration”
“Bishop Kukah is not the first to speak out against impunity, injustice and the collapsing security situation being witness in some parts of the Country, Bishop Kukah remains a true patriot who speaks to give direction and make recommendations on the way the people should be govern in an equitable and just manner”
The Governor however commended the Federal Government for issuing a statement to caution the group and reminding its members of provisions of the Constitution which guarantee the right of Nigerians to reside in any part of the country.
“Nigeria belongs to all its citizens and no individual or group has the right to threaten others and whip them into silence, so the call by Muslim Solidarity Forum can only lead the country to a state of lawlessness which does no nation any good”
What Nigerians ought to be worried about at this time in addition to insecurity is the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the dwindling economy which has seen the naira fall to 500 to one dollar in the open market, a situation that is rendering millions of youths jobless and not self seeking interest” he added.