A leading Catholic bishop has said that the Nigerian government's failure to tackle religious-motivated violence has the left the country “a boiling pot that everyone wants to escape from.”
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto accused Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari of favouring Muslims in key positions of power, engaging in political nepotism and not keeping his word.
The Catholic Bishop said: "The President has turned his back on almost all the key promises he made to the people of Nigeria during his campaign.
“Our country now looks like a boiling pot that everyone wants to escape from. Nepotism has become the new ideology of this government.
“In following this ideology, it is estimated that the President has handed over 85 percent of the key positions to northern Muslims and has ensured that men of his faith hold tight to the reins of power in the most critical areas of our national life; the National Assembly and the Security Agencies!"
Over the past seven months, some 178 people have been killed in Nigeria's Kaduna State alone at the hands of Islamic Fulani hersdmen, who regularly target Christians. Since June 2015, human rights organisation Intersociety estimates that up to 12,000 Christians have been killed, with 350 deaths occurring in the first two months of 2020.
Bishop Kukah also blamed the Nigerian military’s brutal tactics as contributing to the perpetual culture of violence and killings.
He said: “The military, perhaps even worse than the colonial state, destroyed the very foundations of our democracy, bureaucracy and public service by introducing a culture of arbitrariness and violence as a means to power.
“A combination of these laid the foundation for corruption as the worst manifestation of a culture of total lack of accountability.”
The Bishop added that no one party can be blamed for the country's current difficulties. “There is enough blame to go around," he said. "We can blame the British, blame the politicians, blame the military but none of these changes anything. It is the fate of nations to go through the furnace and crucible of suffering.
“Under the banner of religion, Europe fought the 30 years’ war (1618-1648), the world lost millions of men and women in two wars propelled by human greed…
“Journeys to greatness require more than just good people, more than just good will, more than just hope. Those journeys have to be led by men and women with vision and tested character, prepared to mobilise their people towards the attainment of a goal.”