Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has backed the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, in response to his recent comments on insecurity.
According to the Africa Daily News in New York, Kukah accused President Muhammadu Buhari of showing preference to people of his religion during a speech to the US Congress Commission on July 15, which he claims has exacerbated the rivalry between Christians and Muslims.
Kukah stated that the Buhari administration has failed to address insecurity, but the presidency responded by accusing the Catholic bishop of attempting to sow discord and strife among Nigerians.
The Presidency has already lambasted Kukah, calling his remarks “unfortunate and unsatisfactory,” and accusing him of “castigating” Nigeria in front of US lawmakers.
In a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Terver Akase, Governor Ortom expressed his support for the cleric and urged the Federal Government to stop intimidating patriotic Nigerians who are raising legitimate concerns about the country’s deteriorating security and economic situation.
Ortom stated that he ‘stands with Bishop Kukah on the issues he raised,’ adding that if he had addressed the same audience, he would have said similar things.
‘He added that the country is practicing democracy which has no room for repression and dictatorship,’ the statement partly read.
‘He pointed out that the country’s Constitution gives all citizens freedom of speech, in contrast to a military administration that suppresses citizens’ right to express their views on issues confronting their country.’
The Benue governor described the cleric as ‘one Nigerian who is selfless and speaks his mind frankly on national issues calling on the government to ensure justice, the rule of law and equity for all.’
The statement added, ‘He also took a swipe at the Presidency’s response to the criticism, wondering why the current administration has chosen to politicize the views of Bishop Kukah when all the issues he highlighted in his address are facts about the country.
‘He said Kukah was right when he stated that nepotism has been elevated above federal character by the present administration. He further agrees with the Bishop that Christians across the country are targets of elimination and thousands have already fallen to the sword of jihadist supremacists.’