Daily Trust

Presidency, Kukah tango over US Congress comments

- By Muideen Olaniyi

The Presidency on Sunday described the presentati­on of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, before the United States Congress which flayed the performanc­es of the federal government in various areas as “incredible falsehood”, “disturbing”, and “troubling.”

Kukah, during his virtual presentati­on to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, DC, on the persecutio­n of Christians in Nigeria by armed extremist groups in the North, said the people are yet to see any tangible move towards tackling Nigeria’s insecurity which, according to him, has a religious undertone.

The clergy, in his testimony before the US Congress Commission claimed religious violence against Christians in Nigeria was a recurring experience of many years, but the spate of the attacks has risen steadily in the last 10 years.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu in a statement said it was “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.

Shehu said it was troubling when a so-called man of the Church copied the worst excesses of those seeking personal advancemen­t in public office.

The Presidency said it was an incredible falsehood to say before a foreign audience that a government that put forward the first and singular plan in nearly a century to address herder-farmer challenges which were recognised by internatio­nal NGOs, including the Internatio­nal Crisis Group had done nothing.

The presidenti­al aide added that it was also quite disturbing to suggest that investment in infrastruc­ture between Nigeria and Niger was wasteful and biased when a similar infrastruc­ture project between Lagos and Benin had revolution­ised the two neighbouri­ng economies to the advantage of both our countries.

Shehu who defended

the appointmen­ts made by the current administra­tion faulted the clergyman’s position that abduction of students in the North was targeted at Christian schools.

The statement also reads in part: “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. Neither is there anything in our Constituti­on to state that political posts must be apportione­d according to ethnicity or faith.

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