The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN, on Wednesday said the Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah didn’t commit any crime by mediating during between x-President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar.
CSN is reacting to the demands by the Buhari Media Organisation that Kukah should be withdrawn as Convener of the National Peace Committee.
The Society maintained that Kukah was needed to reconcile the two leaders due to national interest, but the effort was hijacked and politicised.
Evaristus Bassey, CSN’s Director of Church and Society, in a statement on Wednesday questioned how Kukah could commit an offence by doing his job. He added that the efforts of Kukah to reconcile Obasanjo and Atiku were eventually hijacked and politicised.
The CSN said, “In 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari was contesting the Presidency, he visited the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and he was granted an audience. Why has it suddenly become a crime for a National Peace Committee convener to do his job of facilitating peace between two national figures?
“If it is the fear of losing elections that is the main concern here, the BMO should rest assured that the election outcome would depend mostly on how voters assess this government and not whether Bishop Kukah reconciled Obasanjo with Atiku Abubakar; that is if the election would be free and fair.”
He said, “The animosity between President Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar, his erstwhile deputy, has long remained a national embarrassment and Bishop Kukah and the National Peace Committee have been making efforts behind the scenes for their reconciliation.
“These attempts have been on long before Atiku Abubakar became the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. If the members of the BMO read Bishop Kukah’s explanatory notes at all, they would not come up with the misleading call for Bishop Kukah’s withdrawal from the National Peace Committee, whereas the reconciliation between the two leaders has been part of the agenda.
“That the move was eventually hijacked and politicised is not Bishop Kukah’s fault at all. If the Presidency could deny that they had nothing to do with the proposed recall of Senator (Shehu) Sani even when (Mallam Ahmed Nasir) el-Rufai offered this information unsolicited and we are expected to believe this, why would a simple, straightforward explanation that Bishop Kukah has laboured to make not suffice?”