Ortom Condemns Quit Notice to Bishop Kukah


George Okoh in Makurdi

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has called all 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’s advice was in reference to the statement credited to a group known as Muslim Solidarity Forum, which asked the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev Mathew Kukah, to tender an unreserved apology over his Christmas Day message on Nigerians state or leave Sokoto State.

In a briefing yesterday by the governor’s Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, the governor said he finds the statement as a contradiction of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution which accord Nigerians the right to live freely in any part of the country.

He said the statement of the group directing Bishop Kukah to apologise or leave Sokoto State 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.

Ortom stated that 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 the ember of disunity and hatred.

He added that the Holy Bible admonished the people to pray for their leaders, stressing that happenings in the country at the moment is beyond human comprehension, and cannot be tackled by President Muhammadu Buhari alone.

The governor advised that those who love Nigeria should desist from making inflammatory statements capable of heightening tensions and taking the country to the precipice of chaos and disintegration.

He said Bishop Kukah is not the first to speak out against impunity, injustice and the collapsing security situation being witnessed in many parts of the country. The governor said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free, as captured in the Bible book of John 8:32.”

He commended the federal government for issuing a statement to caution the group and reminding its members of the provisions of the constitution which guarantee the right of Nigerians to reside in any part of the country.

Ortom stated that Kukah remains a true patriot, who speaks to give direction and make recommendations on the way the people should be governed in an equitable and just manner.

The governor maintained that Nigeria belongs to all its citizens, and no individual or group has the right to threaten others and whip them into silence.

He further stated that calls such as the one made by Muslim Solidarity Forum can only lead the country to a state of lawlessness which does no nation any good.

The governor stated that 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 a dollar in the open market, a situation that is rendering millions of youths jobless.