Two prominent clerics, Reverend Father Matthew Kukah and Pastor Tunde Bakare, have advised President Muhammadu Buhari, over the high level of insecurity in Nigeria, warning that the country is rapidly descending into anarchy.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Kukah, in his Easter message on Sunday, said the Buhari regime was taking care of repentant Boko Haram insurgents, but lacked empathy for their victims.
In his Easter message titled, ‘the conspicuous handwriting on the wall,’ the Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Bakare, said Nigeria was in a state of emergency, adding that her health was in danger.
Kukah, in his message titled, “Nigeria: Before our glory departs”, recalled that Buhari, on May 29, 2015, during his inauguration, said, ‘Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires.’
The Catholic priest lamented that before Buhari’s watch, “the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small.”
Kukah also hit the Buhari regime for rehabilitating insurgents, saying it was a clear demonstration of the regime’s lack of feelings for victims of banditry and insurgency, who were left to mourn their dead ones and paid ransoms to free their relatives.
Kukah said the recent World Happiness Report stated that Nigeria was one of the unhappiest nations in the world.
He said, “This is unacceptable but understandable. Our clay-footed fight against corruption has not moved the needle of transparency forward.
“Of course, being the poverty capital of the world comes with its rewards such as banditry, violence, death, sorrow, blood, poverty, misery, and tears. Our cup of sorrow is permanently full; hence the exponential rise in the frustration curve across the country.
“Sadly, human life is haemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power. Mysteriously, the government is investing billions of naira in rehabilitating so-called Boko Haram repentant members and their other partners in crime in the belief that they want to turn a new leaf.
“These criminals have waged war against their country, murdered thousands of citizens, destroyed infrastructure and rendered entire families permanently displaced and dislocated. Why should rehabilitating the perpetrators be more important than bringing succour to the victims?
“A critical deficit of empathy on the side of the government makes healing almost impossible for the victims. We have not heard anything about a rehabilitation programme for the thousands of schoolchildren who have been victims of abduction. We seem to assume that their return to their schools is sufficient.
“Left unaddressed, the traumatic effect of their horrors will haunt them for a long time. Tomorrow’s parents, military generals, top security men and women, governors, senators, and ministers will come from today’s pool of traumatised children. The security quandary is the greatest indictment of this government.
“When governments face legitimacy crises, they fall back on serving the sour broth of propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies. They manufacture consent by creating imaginary enemies, setting citizens against one another by deploying religion, ethnicity, region, and other platforms while appealing to the base emotions of patriotism.”
Kukah expressed disappointment that Buhari could not match his words with action, having boasted that during his inaugural speech to extinguish the fire of Boko Haram.
He added, “The rumblings over the wearing of a hijab in Kwara State suggest that we have not seen the end of individuals sacrificing national cohesion to feed their personal ambitions by starting small fires.
“Most politicians hardly think through the long-term effects of these pyrrhic victories of using religion. What started as a small fire with adoption of Sharia in Zamfara in 1999, spread across the northern states. Ordinary people broke into ecstatic joy. Today, what has become of the North? What are the lessons?”
Bakare, who was Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 presidential election, recalled how the President, who contested on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change, broke down in tears at a press conference because of his passion for Nigeria.
He quoted Buhari to have said, “I have decided to dedicate the remainder of my life to fighting for the people of this country.”
The cleric, who traced the history of the formation of the All Progressives Congress, said the situation in Nigeria was not the dream both he and Buhari had for the country.