The Presidency has described as wrong and unconstitutional the reported ultimatum by a group based in Sokoto, “Muslim Solidarity Forum,” calling on the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah to tender an unreserved apology to the entire Muslim Ummah over his recent comments or quietly and quickly leave the state.
Media aide to president Muhammadu Buhari Garba Shehu in a statement, noted that the Nigerian Constitution expressly states that, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions.
The statement noted that Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity and the right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution.
The media aide noted that Father Kukah has offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric, but insists that responsible leadership in any society must exercise restraint.
He said that Knee-jerk reactions will not only cause the fraying of enduring relationships, but also the evisceration of peaceful communities such as Sokoto, the headquarters of the Muslim community as beacon of pluralism and tolerance.
The statement concludes that groups such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must be seen to share and uphold the country’s multi-religious principles, and individuals like Father Kukah must respect the feelings of his fellow Nigerians in his private and public utterances.