The Presidency has condemned the call on the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Matthew Kukah, to leave Sokoto State, saying it’s unconstitutional and a violation of the clergyman’s rights.
A group known as the Muslim Solidarity Forum had during a press briefing on Tuesday demanded that Bishop Kukah tender an apology to the Muslim Ummah for alleged ‘malicious comments’ against Islam or quietly leave Sokoto.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency said the demands by the group were wrong and opposed to the dictates of the Constitution of the country.
According to the statement, it remains the constitutional rights of all Nigerians, including Bishop Kukah, to reside in any part of the country, own property as well as speak and express himself freely, adding that the nation’s diversity is her strength as a nation.
“The reported ultimatum by a group based in Sokoto, ‘Muslim Solidarity Forum’, calling on the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah, to tender an unreserved apology to the entire Muslim Ummah over his recent ‘malicious comments’ against Islam, or quietly and quickly leave the state, is wrong because it is not in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Under our Constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions.
“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity. The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution. The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the Constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians,” it said.