Politicians are to be blamed for religious disharmony - Catholic Bishop

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, has advised politicians to desist from using religion to create division among the people of Nigeria.

Bishop Kukah who gave the advice in Osogbo at the opening of the National Conference of the Islamic Welfare Foundation lamented that in Nigeria, politicians use their religions to divide the people for their selfish ends.

He, therefore, urged politicians in the country especially the northern Muslim elite to use religion as a tool for developing the country rather than being hypocritical in their approach.

The cleric said: “We must locate the current crisis of Boko Haram within the context of the inability of the northern Muslim elite to live by their own dubious creed. They preached Sharia Law, but only for the poor.

“They preached a religion that encourages education, yet their own people are held in the bondage of ignorance. They came to power on the basis of a democratic society, but they turned around and declared Sharia to generate a false consciousness among the poor.

“They did not wish to live by the same standards, so they decided to live their own Islam in the capitals of the world away from the prying eyes of their own people. Boko Haram began as a revolt against this hypocrisy”.

Speaking on the theme: “Thoughts on the Future of Religion in Nigeria’s Politics”, Bishop Kukah noted that Nigerian politicians have failed to use religion to manage its plural identities by seeing themselves as Christians and Muslims.

He said, “Rather than focusing on our common citizenship, religious identities have become tools for war and death. They have become tools for access to political and economic power.”

The cleric said it would be a great tragedy if Nigerians are unable to roll back the ugly misuse of religion.

Bishop Kukah further said, “We should see ourselves first as Nigerians because soldiers who are dying in the North East while trying to defeat Boko Haramists are Nigerians, not Muslims or Kanuris.

“We have a common identity as citizens of Nigeria; this is not a Christian country; it is not a Muslim country. There is no place here that belongs to Muslims or Christians, rich people or poor people.”

Also speaking on the theme: “Islam: Administration of Justice and Nigeria’s Development”, Alhaji Yusuf Ali (SAN) asked President Muhammadu Buhari to find the reasons for the agitation of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

He said the federal government should ensure that the war against corruption is holistic, not selective and politically motivated.

Ali advised Nigerian lawyers to be dedicated to truth and their professional ethics.

He also advised government at all levels to ensure that the process of appointing judges is more rigorous and transparent, adding that “judges indicted for corruption and other unwholesome practices should not only lose their appointment but must also face trial for their misdeeds.”

While stressing that most judges would miss aljanat (heaven), he charged the federal government to provide the judiciary with 21st Century work tools to be able to deliver 21st Century results.

Source: Leadership.ng

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