From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
President North Central Muslim Peace Initiative, Alhaji Saleh Zazzaga, has called for restrain in the inflammatory rhetoric in various quarters and on the social media in reaction to the Christmas message by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, saying the issue is unnecessarily over flogged.
Zazzaga made the call while speaking with journalists in Jos the Plateau State Capital.
According to him, Bishop Kukah for long has been speaking to address the ills in the nation, and that it is improper for any person or group of persons to give it an ethno-religious connotation because it has the tendency to trigger violence in the country.
He said he has read an ultimatum given to Kukah by a group in Sokoto to apologize or leave the state and the several reactions that followed the ultimatum in the social media and several quarters, saying that such happenings is not healthy for the nation and will divide the citizenry than unite them.
The President said it is the authority/government that will determine if a message/comment can be classified as hate speech or otherwise and not a group of persons.
Zazzaga said several persons irrespective of their religious or ethnic background have made comment in the interest of the nation, but that he didn’t know why Kukah’s remarks was generating unnecessary controversy.
He called on government at all levels to establish and maintain a close relationship with clergy men and constructive critics like Bishop Kukah, across all religions, so that they can keep sharing ideas and getting good counsel where necessary.
According to him, the government should endeavour to always meet the needs and aspiration of the citizenry, saying that when there is good governance people will be happy and criticisms will reduce to the barest minimum.
He urged youths to engage themselves in meaningful ventures and government activities, rather than exchanging explosive remarks over a clergyman’s message that is capable of causing “chaos, mistrust and deep seated hatred”.