Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of SSokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah

The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria has condemned the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) for suggesting that the Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, should be withdrawn as Convener of the National Peace Committee.

The Catholic Secretariat stated that the visit of Kukah to the home of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to broker peace between him and ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been hijacked and politicized.

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The organization in a statement by its Director of Church and Society, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, said: “In 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari was contesting the Presidency, he visited the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and he was granted an audience. Why has it suddenly become a crime for a National Peace Committee convener to do his job of facilitating peace between two national figures?

“If it is the fear of losing elections that is the main concern here, the BMO should rest assured that the election outcome would depend mostly on how voters assess this government and not whether Bishop Kukah reconciled Obasanjo with Atiku Abubakar; that is if the election would be free and fair.”

The organization also disclosed that Bishop Mathew Kukah has been making efforts to reconcile the former leaders of the country.

Bassey added, “These attempts have been on long before Atiku Abubakar became the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. If the members of the BMO read Bishop Kukah’s explanatory notes at all, they would not come up with the misleading call for Bishop Kukah’s withdrawal from the National Peace Committee, whereas the reconciliation between the two leaders has been part of the agenda.

“That the move was eventually hijacked and politicized is not Bishop Kukah’s fault at all. If the Presidency could deny that they had nothing to do with the proposed recall of Senator (Shehu) Sani even when (Mallam Ahmed Nasir) el-Rufai offered this information unsolicited and we are expected to believe this, why would a simple, straightforward explanation that Bishop Kukah has labored to make not suffice?”