The Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) has called on law enforcement agencies to arrest those who “threatened” Mathew Kukah, bishop of Sokoto Catholic diocese.
The Muslim Solidarity Forum had asked Kukah to apologise for his alleged attack on Islam or vacate the caliphate following his Christmas message where he had accused President Muhammadu Buhari of nepotism
But reacting at a conference in Kaduna, on Monday, Jonathan Asake, SOKAPU’s national president, said it is obvious that southerners get harassed when they criticise Buhari’s government, but if the criticism comes from “the core north”, no one raises an eyebrow.
Using the Sultan of Sokoto and some other prominent people as examples, he said the points Kukah raised in his message is in not different from what had been said certain persons from the north, even in “a more critical manner”.
He said the criticism from this set of people never attracted condemnation and threats, alleging that the action has shown the discriminatory nature of the Buhari administration.
“It appears to us, therefore, that comments by Nigerians attract different reactions from the government, depending on the region, ethnicity, and religion of the person making such comments,” Asake said.
“It’s sad to note that when persons of core Northern extraction criticize the government; they are taken as kind words, but when the same statements are made by people of Southern or Middle Belt extractions; they are harassed and tormented and their comments branded as treasonable by the government.
“This discriminatory posture of government clearly shows that the Buhari-led administration treats Nigerian citizens differently; some as first-class and others considered as second class.
“When the respected Bishop Kukah criticised the government in his Christmas homily, all hell broke loose from Northern elements who have consistently exhibited intolerance since the assumption of Buhari as the President.
“Sadly so, his glaring nepotism, chauvinism, and bigotry in his governance style seem to lend credence to this perception.
“All that Bishop Kukah is accused of saying against this government had been said by some other people in a more critical manner but never attracted a barrage of condemnation and threats.
“We note that the Sultan of Sokoto, prominent emirs, and the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) had condemned President Buhari over his dismal performance in tackling insecurity in the country, with NEF calling on him to resign.
“The anger and threats that are being issued against the revered Bishop were never served on the Sultan, emirs, and the NEF which clearly shows the discriminatory posture of this government.
“Those who have threatened Bishop Kukah ought to be arrested and be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
Asake added that no one has the monopoly of violence, warning the groups issuing the threats that no harm must befall Kukah.
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