- The Northern Elders' Forum has warned against creating religious friction in the country
- The forum also cautioned religious and political leaders to be careful of what they say in the public
- NEF's reaction came hours after the presidency said Bishop Mattew Kukah "offended many" in his Christmas message
With Bishop Mattew Kukah's homily still courting a ripple of controversy, the Northern Elders' Forum (NEF) on Thursday, January 14, warned against creating religious tension in the country.
Speaking on Arise TV's Morning Show monitored by Legit.ng, through its spokesperson Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the forum said though it would not like to react directly to Kukah's statement, "nothing on the ground is threatening Muslims or Christians."
Baba-Ahmed, however, said leaders must be careful of what they say so that they do not plunge the country into a religious rift.
He noted that Nigeria is a country where people are "jealous and sensitive to their faith". According to him, nobody should be allowed to create friction along religious borders.
The Muslim Solidarity Forum (MSF), a society based in Sokoto, had on Tuesday, January 12, asked Bishop Kukah to "quietly and quickly" leave" Sokoto, saying the message of the cleric was a direct attack on Islam.
Speaking through its acting chairman, Isa Muhammad Maishanu, the group also stressed that Bishop Kukah is fanning embers of religious violence, though the cleric in question has “as a matter of honour” challenged MSF to show where he attacked Islam or Muslims.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) reacted to the call for Kukah to apologise for his statement, describing the threats of MSF as laughable.
The general secretary of CAN, Rev. Joseph Daramola, said the respected cleric spoke within the limits of his fundamental human rights.
Kukah has protection under the constitution - Presidency
In a swift response to the threats asking Bishop Kukah to apologise or "quickly and quietly leave” Sokoto state, the presidency on Wednesday night, January 13, spoke in defence of the respected cleric.
A media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, said Kukah "has the right" to freedom of speech, among other protection under the law.
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