The Nigerian government has condemned a statement credited to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, in which he compared the government and a terror group in the country, Boko Haram.
Kukah had said the only difference between the Nigerian government and the Boko Haram insurgents is that the later operates with bomb.
From an article provided by Aid to the Church in Need UK, Catholic Herald reports that Kukah spoke in the wake of the Christmas Day attack by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and an attack by Boko Haram on Christmas Eve in which seven people were killed.
ISWAP had released a video on December 26 in which it was beheading 10 Christians and shooting a Muslim
“The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is that Boko Haram is holding a bomb,” Kukah said.
“They are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence. With the situation in Nigeria, it is hard to see the moral basis they have to defeat Boko Haram.
“They have created the conditions to make it possible for Boko Haram to behave the way they are behaving.”
In a statement, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, asked the prominent cleric to use his ecclesiastical status to work for religions harmony rather that making statements that could undermine the unity of Nigeria.
”To now attribute the actions of these mad bunch to an orchestrated and systematic plan to elevate one religion over the other or decimate adherents of a particular religion, is not only unfortunate but divisive, incendiary and insensitive,” he said.
Mohammed said both ISWAP and Boko Harran terrorists do not subscribe to any religion despite their claim to doing so.
He said the groups are driven by primitive tendency to kill and destroy with disregard for the creed, gender and tribe of their victims.
The spokesperson of the Nigerian government asked religious leaders to be cautious in what they say, especially on issues relating to religion, noting that such statements could be exploited for political gains.