Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, has aired his view on the agitation for an independent state of Biafra led by the Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB.
According to the Bishop, Nigeria will continue to remain united and no amount of agitation will break her up.
The cleric made his comments while speaking at a national dialogue organized by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy Democracy and Development in Abuja.
While describing the question of Nigeria’s unity, the Bishop likened the current situation to the Biblical stories of the Israelites. According to him, Nigeria can be likened to when the Israelites stood before the Red Sea during their exit from captivity.
He said: “We cannot recover territory from Boko Haram only to surrender it to others; we are Nigeria and Nigeria will continue to remain.
“This country belongs to all of us and I think it is important for us to understand that while the protester must have his voice, the one in power must also have his voice.
“We are before the red sea; this either be Nigeria’s best or worst moment. It is time for us to realize our collective vulnerability.”
He went further to say that the reason behind the existence of everyone in the country was simply because there was a Nigeria and while Nigeria could exist without us, we could not exist without the country.
Bishop Matthew Kukah added that the matter which should be of paramount importance to every Nigerian is how to make the nation great, emphasising that all stakeholders should work to ensure that.
He pointed out with regret, that the patriotism of most public office holders ended as soon as they were done with their service period. “Ministers become so patriotic when they are in office and I have seen them come down; no sooner had they lost their positions than their patriotism ended,’’ he said.
Kukah blamed the country’s present state on the inability of the political class to put their foresight to use. “The political class has no time to reflect; we fumble and fumble through problems and we just think that the problems will go away,’’ he said.
He said that it was high time some contradictions in the country were addressed.
According to him, though we are in civilian administration, the country’s public space has been increasingly dominated by those trained to use monopolised and declared violence.
The cleric pointed out that Nigerians did not just decide to become violent but that there was a direct correlation between the movement of small arms and how armed robbers got arms.
These, Rev. Matthew Kukah said, were some of the contradictions that led to the country’s present challenges, adding that some states lacked the capacity to address some issues of development.