The Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum, SMBLF, said that the Federal Government and all those who attacked Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah over his Christmas message should tender an apology to the Catholic Bishop.
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Most Reverend Father Mathew Hassan Kukah, had in his Christmas message, said there could have been a coup if a non-northern Muslim President does a fraction of what President Buhari did.
The SMBLF, in a joint statement signed by Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikoku (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), condemned statements made by the Presidency and the Northern Elders Forum over the Christmas Day Message of the revered Catholic Bishop.
The leadership of SMBLF in its release entitled, “You Cannot Suppress the Voice of Reason”, noted that the outspoken cleric has been a beacon of truthfulness over the years, adding that he remains a foremost defender of the aspirations of millions of Nigerians across ethnic and religious lines.
According to the statement, on occasions like the Christmas celebration, his comments have been applauded by the majority of Nigerians and all stand with him.
The forum reminded the Federal Government and it described as “its attack dogs” that in the past, they had equally welcomed the forthright views of this Man of God, though it favoured them.
It added that it is shameful and indefensible that suddenly, the Federal Government is dominated by one small ethnic group and they expect all to keep quiet like slaves.
The forum said, “Also the wind of insecurity is now almost a tsunami and even up to Mr President’s doorstep in Katsina when he was home recently on holiday.”
The leadership of SMBLF noted that what is expected is for those concerned to retrace their very unhelpful steps and get back to rekindling oneness in the country.
“We once more can call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to restructure the country,” the forum suggested.
The forum reminded those concerned that the voice of truth and reason can never be suppressed successfully, stressing that Bishop Kukah remains a national icon, a hero of the masses.
“We, therefore, demand an immediate apology to him for the baseless attacks,” the statement advised.