The Nigerian Islamic human rights organisation, Muslim Rights Concern, has declared that the National Peace Committee as the initiative of the Bishop of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has lost credibility among Nigerians.
MURIC spoke on the heels of the revelation by the Christian Association of Nigeria that NPC was a personal initiative of Kukah.
MURIC’s statement on Friday was signed by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads: “We received the information supplied yesterday by the Vice Chairman (Northern Region) of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. John Hayab, with great relief. The CAN Vice Chairman revealed that the National Peace Committee (NPC) is a non-governmental group convened by Bishop Kukah himself.
“This information is hidden from the public as NPC website merely says, ‘The National Peace Committee is an initiative conceptualized in 2014 in response to emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections. It is an initiative made up of eminent elder statesmen who undertake efforts to support free, fair and credible elections as well as intervene in critical issues of national concern through high-level mediated and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms…’
“The fact that the author of the ‘initiative’ is hidden from the public in its website here shows lack of transparency and possession of a hidden agenda. The joker card is in Kukah’s pocket. This can be gleaned from the composition of the membership of the committee which has fifteen (15) members.
“They are: Abdul Salami Abubakar, Mathew Hassan Kukah, Okoh Ebute Ukiwe, Dame Priscilla Kuye, HRH Sa’d Abubakar III the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Aliko Dangote GCON, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Mr. Brown Ade, Mr. Sam Amuka, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Professor Amezi Gobadiya, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Dr. Supo Ayokunle (CAN President), Justice Rose Ikeji.
“These are eminent personalities whom we respect. But that should not be all. We must look further and ask, ‘How ‘national’ is the National Peace Committee? This must be done particularly because the brain behind it is also a social critic. A man who interrogates others must know that his actions will equally be interrogated. So how ‘national’ is the National Peace Committee?
“From the above list of members of Kuka’s committee we can see ten (10) Christians and five (5) Muslims only. There are also nine Southerners as against six (6) Northerners only. Can you now see what we mean? A man who always complains about marginalization and accuses others of nepotism cannot even raise a committee of fifteen without falling foul of his own allegations against others.
“Bishop Kukah, sir, permit us to borrow a question for you from your Bible: ‘Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?…’ (Mathew 7:3-5).
“Bishop Kukah turned a personal initiative to ‘national’ and Nigerians fell for it. With due respect to the distinguished leaders who are members of the committee. We believe that they merely keyed into the scheme as patriotic citizens without any intention to deceive Nigerians. But not Kukah. He was playing a card and he knew what he was doing all along.
“Pity Rev. Hayab let the cat out of the bag. Hear him: ‘How on earth will you say a man should be removed from the house he builds?’ Did you hear that? So NPC is a house built by Kukah. Sounds interesting. Too discourteous, overzealous perhaps? It happens sometimes. Kukah will have to forgive his brother in the Lord for being less tactical.
“But why call the NPC ‘national’ if it is just a single man’s initiative. What is national about it? Is it the ratio 10:5 Christian-Muslim membership or the 9:6 Southern-Northern margin? By Nigerian standard and practice, anything ‘national’ is established by the government. So why dub a committee started by a single man ‘national’?
“This presupposes that there was, ab initio, an intention to pull the wool over the face of Nigerians. NPC was to be used against somebody (a political foe?) or a group of people (most likely Muslims?) in the near future. It is highly deceitful, misleading and perfidious. Had it been christened Kukah Peace Committee had been good. But now the wind has blown. We have seen the ruff of the hen. Kukah elected to call his committee ‘National’ to hoodwink Nigerians. We reject this nomenclature. It is bogus, mischievous and opportunistic.
“For the avoidance of doubts, we did not ask the Federal Government (FG) to expel Bishop Kukah from the NPC, we knew all along that NPC is an NGO. What we cautioned FG about was the obsession of successive governments in appointing Kukah into mediation committees.
“It is our humble opinion that a Muslim hater like Kukah should not be allowed to sit in judgement or in mediation on issues affecting Muslims or matters affecting the North. FG is free to appoint him as minister and give him six portfolios at a time if it so desires but never again as a mediator. Appoint him to any federal post but not to committees and councils that will mediate between the North and the South or between Christians and Muslims. He can never be fair or objective. His mind is fixated on one thing and we already know what that thing is.
“Whereas the core values of the National Peace Committee as stated on its website include neutrality, integrity and transparency, Bishop Kukah showed undue interest in the affairs of a leading opposition party, flew in a candidate’s private jet and hobnobbed with the founding father of a political party to bring them together against another political party. That intervention tantamounts to partisan interference and it depicts Kukah as having particular interest in one of the political parties. So why is he deceiving us by calling his committee as National Peace Committee? It is sheer hocus-pocus.”