Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah in his Christmas message of last year accused President Buhari of nepotism, pursuing an agenda to ”stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony,” amongst other things. The Bishop’s mention of a coup, that a coup could have happened if a non-Northern Muslim did a fraction of what Buhari has done, became a soundbite.
Responding to this statement is an unheard-of group known as the Muslim Solidarity Forum. Through its acting chairman Isa Maishanu, the group described the Bishop’s words as an attack on the image and reputation of Muslims, and could incite violence between Christians and Muslims in the state.
On top of that, they have asked the Bishop to apologise Muslims or leave the state. It’s worth stating that President Buhari’s administration has come under heavy criticism from various domestic groups, including the international community. Importantly, freedom of speech is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. Bishop Kukah has exercised that right to rightfully criticize Buhari, as does everyone, and nowhere in his statement did he attack Muslims or their religion.
Even the Presidency has shown its disapproval towards the Muslim group for asking the Bishop to leave Sokoto. Every Nigeria has the right to live anywhere in the country without intimidation and harassment. Ironically, the statement from the group reels into intolerance and disharmony, the same things it was trying to avoid. It also reinforces the problematic ideas people have about Muslims, even beyond the shores of the country.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.