Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has backed the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, over his recent comments on insecurity.
Ortom asked the Federal Government to stop intimidating patriotic Nigerians who are raising genuine concerns over the worsening security and economic situation in the country.
He supported Kukah’s position in a statement issued by his spokesman, Terver Akase, on Saturday, alleging unfair treatment of Nigerians under the administration.
Kukah had, during an address to the US Congress Commission on July 15, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of showing preference to people of his religion, which according to him, has worsened the rivalry between Christians and Muslims.
Kukah had alleged that the Buhari administration has failed to address insecurity but the presidency had replied the Catholic bishop, accusing him of trying to sow discord and strife among Nigerians.
The presidency has since tackled Kukah, describing his comments as “unfortunate and disappointing”, complaining that the cleric “castigated” Nigeria before the US lawmakers.
But in his statement, Ortom asked the FG “to stop intimidating patriotic Nigerians, who are raising genuine concerns over the worsening security and economic situation in the country.”
Ortom said he “stands with Bishop Kukah on the issues he raised,” adding that he would have said similar things if he were to address the same audience.
“Governor Ortom states that the country is practicing democracy which has no room for repression and dictatorship,” the statement partly read.
“He notes that the country’s Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech to all citizens, unlike a military regime which suppresses the right of the people to voice their opinions on challenges facing their country.”
The Benue governor described the cleric as “one Nigerian who is selfless and speaks his mind frankly on national issues calling on the government to ensure justice, the rule of law and equity for all.”
He also took a swipe at the Presidency’s response to the criticism, wondering why the current administration has chosen to politicize the views of Bishop Kukah when all the issues he highlighted in his address are facts about the country.
“He says Kukah was right when he stated that nepotism has been elevated above federal character by the present administration. He further agrees with the Bishop that Christians across the country are targets of elimination and thousands have already fallen to the sword of jihadist supremacists,” the statement added.