By editor - 10 January, 2020
In response to the videoed attack on Christmas day of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) beheading 10 Christians and shooting one Muslim and the attack on Christmas Eve by Boko Haram in which seven people were killed, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto shared his disgust with Nigeria’s government to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. “The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is Boko Haram is holding a bomb,” the bishop said.
Bishop Kukah said the Nigerian government stacks key positions with hardline Muslims, giving tacit approval to such groups and creating conditions to make it possible for Boko Haram to act as they have been. The UN estimates that over 2.2 million people have been displaced by Boko Haram’s actions and that between 2013 and 2015 the group was responsible for more than 11,000 deaths.
“[The Nigerian government] are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence…If they have countries where everybody is Muslim in power then you give vent to the idea that Islam should be supreme,” Bishop Kukah said.
Bishop Kukah also called out Western nations who he said will happily mine Africa’s resources but not defend her people: “Western nations are not doing enough. They have shown that the resources of Africa are more important than the ordinary people. Clearly, the Western nations could have reduced the influence of Boko Haram by 80 or 90 percent – they have deliberately not done enough.”
Bishop Kukah believes that the only reason Nigeria has not become embroiled in civil war is the principle of peace in Christianity: “Christians have every reason to feel insecure…there is a general feeling of their marginalisation from the political process. If the principles of our religion were different, there would be a civil war by now.
“It is the glory of our religion that this hasn’t happened. It is difficult to preach peace in this context. Any resolution depends on how Christians decide to react. They won’t use violence but what will they do?”
This story is written and edited by ACN – www.acnireland.org.