AFRICA/NIGERIA – Bishop of Sokoto: “We must decide what we are to solve the nation’s problems”

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Abuja – “The crucial question that this country has not resolved is ‘Who are we as Nigerians?’ That is why the situation in the country has become so explosive”, said His Exc. Mgr. Matthew Hassan Kukah Bishop of Sokoto, in a televised interview.
“What happened to us is that the controversial issues were never openly discussed”, he added.
“We have never had a situation where we have decided what kind of society we want. That is why society today is shaped by ethnic, religious and other alliances”.
“We live in a chaotic society,” said the bishop, “in which the strongest survive. We are reaping the fruits of all the terrible things we have suffered or left unsolved”.
Mgr. Kukah then said he was concerned about the human rights violations particularly with regard to freedom of expression: “It is important that those who rule us know that freedom of speech is a human right and that freedom of expression is a God-given right, that nobody can take away from us”.
“As a Christian, one cannot help but become restless when one sees an unjust society”, emphasizes the bishop, “because I am a Christian and, above all, a priest”. “We have to create an environment in which everyone has the freedom to be what they want to be”, concludes Mgr. Kukah.
In February of this year the Nigerian Bishops had warned that “Nigeria is in danger of falling apart” due to the insecurity that pushes various social and ethnic groups to form self-defense groups and the government is pursuing a policy that favors some groups over others. “Many have given up the opportunity and the endeavor for Nigeria as a unified country. It is not surprising that many non-state actors are filling the void created by the specific failure of the government”, emphasized the bishops at the beginning of the year.