The youth wing of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has vowed to reciprocate any form of attack targeted at the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah.
Kukah's controversial Christmas message had earned him criticisms and backlash from major Islamic and northern groups in the country.
On Tuesday, the Muslim Solidarity Forum asked Kukah to tender an unreserved apology to the entire Muslim Ummah or leave Sokoto.
But, on Wednesday, in a statement issued by SOKAPU, the group accused the Muslim Solidarity Forum of trying to incite the peace-loving people of Sokoto and some northerners against the bishop over his Christmas message, which they described as 'the obvious truth'.
The statement partly read, "The attention of the Youth Wing of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has again been drawn to an eleven (11) point press statement issued and signed by one Professor Isa Mohammed Maishanu on behalf of Muslim Solidarity Forum Sokoto on Tuesday, the 12th day of January, 2021.
"The statement is asking Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah to leave the Seat of Caliphate (Sokoto), and is also trying to incite the peace-loving people of Sokoto and the North against the bishop over his Christmas message where the bishop out of passionate patriotism voiced out the obvious truth when he said: ‘Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Muhammadu Buhari has done with his nepotism and got away with it’.
"We are however dismayed and pained that a professor could condescend this low, throwing caution to the wind and toeing the path of religious rascality and bigotry by deliberately attempting to window dress the bishop's message with religious colourations and further inciting the general Muslim Ummah against the bishop.
"The demeaning call by the so-called professor for Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah to ‘apologise to the Muslim Ummah or quickly and quietly leave the Seat of the Caliphate’ is not just ridiculous and unacceptable but an affront to the rights of all Nigerians who live and reside freely in all parts of the country.
"We believe that the reckless statement credited to the professor does not in any way reflect the position of a responsible group such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum.”
The SOKAPU youth wing also urged the Department of State Services to arrest Maishanu, who signed the statement on behalf of the group. They said his arrest would serve as a deterrent to those already brainwashed and misled by Maishanu's unguided statements and prevent a religious war.
SOKAPU youth wing added, "While we call on the Department of State Services to as a matter of urgency arrest Prof. Isa Mohammed Maishanu to serve as a deterrent to those already brainwashed and misled by his unguided statements and prevent a religious war, we're equally urging the professor to as a matter of public interest and safety submit himself to the nearest psychiatric home for an immediate psychological examination for shamelessly trying to establish a nexus between Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah's message and Muslims vis-a-vis Islam.”
The group also stressed that it would not tolerate any attack on Kukah by anyone as he has committed no offence.
"The youth and people of Southern Kaduna hereby unequivocally warn that we will not accept further attacks on the person and character of Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah under any pretence. Neither Prof. Maishanu nor any person or group of persons can mourn more than the bereaved.
"The bishop’s message was directed to the powers that be and could not in any way be said to have been directed to Muslims and Islam, a religion well known to profess peace.
"The youth of Southern Kaduna therefore vow to reciprocate any form of attack directed or aimed at putting the bishop in harm's way by any group of ethnic loyalists, religious extremists and enthusiasts."