From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has warned that the quit notice by a muslim group demanding the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Kukah to tender an unreserved apology over his Christmas Day message or leave Sokoto State, is capable of causing the disintegration of the country.
The Governor however enjoined all Nigerians, irrespective of religious and political inclinations, to uphold unity, peace and dialogue as panacea for the myriad of problems confronting the country.
Reacting to the statement, the Governor who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase said the group’s statement was a contradiction of provisions of the Constitution which gives Nigerians the right to live freely in any part of the country.
Ortom added that the statement of the group directing Bishop Kukah to apologize or leave Sokoto State affirms clearly to the fact that Nigeria is being controlled by forces which are bent on setting the country ablaze if their interests are not guaranteed.
He stressed the need for all Nigerians; both Christians and Muslims to set aside religious and other sentiments, come together in humility to fast and pray for peace and unity of the country, rather than the current situation where some persons are fanning embers of disunity and hatred.
The Governor posited that the Holy Bible admonishes the people to pray for their leaders noting that what is happening in the country at the moment is beyond human comprehension and cannot be tackled by President Muhammadu Buhari alone.
Governor Ortom therefore advised people who love Nigeria to desist from making inflammatory statements that are capable of heightening tensions and taking the country to the precipice of chaos and disintegration.
He said Bishop Kukah is not the first to speak out against impunity, injustice and the collapsing security situation being witnessed in parts of the country.
The Governor commended the Federal Government for quickly responding by issuing a statement to caution the group and reminding its members of provisions of the Constitution which guarantee the right of Nigerians to reside in any part of the country.
According to Ortom, Bishop Kukah remains a true patriot who speaks to give direction and make recommendations on the way the people should be governed in an equitable and just manner.
He insisted that Nigeria belongs to all its citizens and no individual or group has the right to threaten others and whip them into silence.
“Calls such as the one made by Muslim Solidarity Forum can only lead the country to a state of lawlessness which does no nation any good.
The Governor said in addition to insecurity, Nigerians should be worried about the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the dwindling economy which has seen the naira fall to 500 to one dollar in the open market, a situation that is rendering millions of youths jobless
He advised that attention should also be given to the productive sector, in order to create jobs for the people to avert the projection that more Nigerians will be destitute in the near future.
Ortom while noting that democracy is built on the rule of law adding that freedom of speech is also anchored on the rule of law, to the extent that it does not infringe on the rights of other people.
Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android