The Muslim Solidarity Forum has called on the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Kukah, to tender an unreserved apology to the entire Muslim Ummah over his recent "malicious comments" against Islam.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, the acting chairman of the Forum, Professor Isa Muhammad Maishanu, maintained that Kukah's statements could break the country's religious faithful's age-long peaceful coexistence.
"Our intention at Muslim Solidarity Forum is not to hold brief for the President, as he has those who are paid to do that; instead, our concern is the image and reputation of Muslims, which Mr Kukah finds pleasure in attacking without an iota of caution, and by referring to him [the president] as a Muslim, that automatically brings all Muslims [into] the issue.
"The Bishop has a penchant for speaking in parables and innuendos.
"His reference to a people who possess 'a pool of violence to draw from' no doubt is a reference to those he has always characterised with violence – the Muslims. This is a serious provocation.
"He even has the guts to say the killings we are witnessing in Nigeria are part of a grand religious design! Religious? Who are the victims of the killings?
"What religion do they profess? Is it not a fact that over 90 per cent of those being killed are Muslims?
"Who is behind the so-called design?" he asked.
"These callous statements are unbecoming of someone who parades himself as secretary to the National Peace Committee and a member of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
"As such, we call on Kukah to immediately stop his malicious vituperations against Islam and Muslims and tender unreserved apology to the Muslim Ummah or else quickly and quietly leave the seat of the Caliphate, as he is trying to break the age-long peaceful coexistence between the predominantly Muslim population and their Christian guests," they noted.
The forum added that "The sensible and objective world knows the truth!
"We wonder how Kukah, who lives peacefully and comfortably in the heart of the Sokoto Caliphate, can make such a callous and senseless statement."
Bishop Kukah had in his Christmas message stated that Nigeria was on the verge of becoming a failed state under President Muhammadu Buhari but denied calling for a coup in the country.
Kukah, in the message, accused President Buhari of nepotism, saying there could have been a coup if a southerner and non-Muslim was the president and had done a quarter of what the president had done.
The Presidency had described Kukah's statement as an attempt to stoke the embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity while the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) termed it as "reckless, inflammatory and unguarded."
But while responding to questions in Sokoto, Kukah said, "If you call for a coup, it means it is something that is not here. It is something that will happen in the future. So is grammar.
"So if I call for it, it means it is not ready. But if I say had it been so, so and so it would have, the tenses are entirely different, and I may be probably wrong, if you know better, let me know.
"So it is unfair for any journalist or newspapers to say that I called for a military coup."