By our reporter| The presidency on Sunday refuted the claim by Matthew Kukah, Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, that only Christian schools are attacked by terrorists and bandits in Nigeria.
The catholic Bishop recently told the United States Congress Commission that the Buhari administration has failed to address insecurity in the country, adding that Buhari shows preference to people of his religion which has worsened the level of rivalry between Christians and Muslims.
But on Sunday, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu in response accused Kukah of trying to sow discord and strife among Nigerians, describing his claim that only Christian schools are being targeted by bandits or terrorists as untrue.
Shehu said, “With due respect to the esteemed position he holds, the Bishop’s assertion that only Christian schools are being targeted by bandits or terrorists is not supported by the facts on the ground,” he said.
“It is sad to say but also true that victims of crime, kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism cut across all strata of the society. Sad but true that Kankara students in Katsina State were stolen by bandits of the same Islamic faith as those they took away.
“The same may be true of those who are still holding the 134 students of the Islamic School at Tegina in Niger State. The nation witnessed the sad incident of the female students abducted by bandits at Jangebe in Zamfara State and the over 100 predominantly Muslim students of the Federal Government Girls College Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State who are currently in captivity — and the nation’s security agencies are hard at work to release them unharmed.
“The attack on Christian students is sad and unacceptable; so also is the abduction of students of other faiths. The claim that only Christian schools are being targeted is totally untrue.”
According to the presidential spokesman, it is unfortunate and disappointing for citizens of Nigeria to bear witness to “one of their churchmen” castigating their country in front of representatives of a foreign parliament.
“Only this government has put forward the first and singular plan in nearly a century to address herder-farmer challenges — a fact recognised by international NGOs, including the International Crisis Group. To declare to a foreign audience that this government does nothing is an incredible falsehood,” Shehu said.
“There is no bias in this government when the president is northern and Muslim, the vice president southern and Christian, and the cabinet equally balanced between the two religions.
“But neither is there anything in our Constitution to state that political posts must be apportioned according to ethnicity or faith.
“It takes a warped frame of mind for a critic to believe ethnicity is of primary importance in public appointments. It is yet more troubling to hear a churchman isolating one group for criticism purely on ethnic lines.”
The presidential spokesman advised Nigerians to live in harmony, despite their religious differences.
He said no one gains but the evil doers, “when we divide our ranks according to ethnicity and religion in confronting them”.
“The bandit, kidnapper, and terrorist are the enemies of the people who should be confronted in unison,” he added.