The Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah says he is ready to apologise if he is shown any part of his Christmas sermon that insulted Islam.
Kukah was reacting to a statement by the Islamic groups JNI, who alleges that he bit the finger that fed him despite being accepted and tolerated.
Bishop Kukah also asked the Islamic groups to show him where and how in all his sermon that he insulted Islam or Muslims.
In his response to the JNI’s statement, Kukah noted that the JNI Secretary dwelt more on politics rather than humanity to have accused him of firing an arrow at the heart of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria.
He explained, “Dr Aliyu has accused me of being an enemy of his religion, Islam. He accused me of what he calls, firing an arrow at the heart of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria.”
Bishop Kukah explained that the statement said he has been accorded respect and accommodated in Sokoto and has turned around to bite a finger that has fed him.
Kukah added, “He poses a question: How can Muslims continue to be hospitable to one who proves to be an ingrate many times over? How can Muslims be comfortable in associating with a bitterly vindictive person disguised in the garb of a religious cleric?”
Bishop Kukah noted that his area of research is religion, politics and society, saying that he is concerned about how religion can help to form good citizens and also how the state can create an environment that enables citizens to achieve this.
“In all of my writings over the last forty or more years, I have never written a single paper or article on Islam as a religion. If there is any scholar anywhere who knows, let him or her say so.
“I have written about religion focusing on how both citizens and the state deal with it, with a focus on politicians. My concerns are summarised in what the late Professor Bala Usman loosely referred to as the manipulation of religion. This manipulation is what has turned religion into a weapon of war in Nigeria,” he explained.
Bishop Kukah requested, Dr Aliyu as a matter of honour and based on the text of my sermon to formally identify where in his sermon he attacked Islam or all Muslims in Nigeria, assuring that he would be more than happy to apologise for the offensive part of the statement.
He further stated, “The relevant paragraphs in my sermon focused on the two painful themes of nepotism and the haemorrhaging of lives in our country, a fact that as I said, most religious leaders and statesmen and women have alluded to.
“How a critique of government policies suddenly becomes hater of Islam and the north, beggars belief.”
He called on Dr Aliyu to clarify and validate his accusations against him and advance the reasons why he should incite violence against him.
Bishop Kukah noted, “I am unaware of anyone in Sokoto who has accused me of any misdemeanour or actions aimed at undermining the state or anyone, no least the faith of Islam.”
He reiterated, “I believe that today, nepotism poses a serious threat to our country.”
He added that the issue of the insecurity and how the north has become so affected, saying, “My belief was to add my voice to the voices of millions of Nigerians, Muslims, Christians, Traditional rulers, Statesmen and all who have shown genuine concern.”
He opined that it would be a great pity and a disservice to their efforts at national cohesion if they resort to the kind of diversionary threats that Dr Aliyu has embarked on.
“It only makes the job of insurgents easier if we become enemies to one another,” he noted.
Cross River Assembly to confirm Justice Akom Ikpeme as substantive Chief Judge Thursday
An operative with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Bello Hamma-Adama, on Wednesday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that a sum of N75 million was recovered from Halima, wife of a former Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Tanimu Turaki.
Tanimu Turaki was a Minister in the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government between 2013 and 2015.
Turaki also served as a supervising Minister for the Federal Ministry of Labour between 2014 and 2015.
Hamma-Adama, the 5th prosecution witness (PW5) in the ongoing trial of Turaki, made the disclosure before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He, however, said the money was later transferred in tranches into private individuals’ accounts.
Giving the breakdown, Hamma-Adama, who was the lead investigator in the agency, said N45 million was transferred to the Minister’s brother, Abdullahi Maigwandu, through his Zenith Bank account.
Out of the N45 million, he said Maigwandu transferred N20 million to the Guarantee Trust Bank account of Halima Tanimu Turaki, the ex-minister’s wife.
According to him, the sum of N20 million was transferred to O-Pec Nig Ltd.
Hamma-Adama said that the remaining N5 million was withdrawn in China using the ATM of Maigwandu by Halima to procure furniture items.
He said, “N30 million was transferred to Abubakar Sani Gude’s Zenith Bank account from the ministry’s account, and the N30 million was sent to the wife of the 1st defendant (Turaki).
“We called for the Maigwandu’s account statement in Zenith Bank. We discovered he is a civil servant in Kebbi on a salary of about N33, 000.
“We suspected a case of money laundering, and we did a network analysis, and we discovered that he could not have owned that money because he is on N33, 000 salary.”
“He said he is a brother to the former minister and that the money was transferred on his instruction,” he added.
However, the Judge, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 for trial continuation.
Recall that the EFCC had arraigned the former Minister (1st defendant) alongside his former Special Assistant, Sampson Okpetu (2nd defendant), and two firms; Samtee Essentials Ltd and Pasco Investment Ltd, on 16 counts of money laundering.
The duo had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
54 deaths and 1,335 new cases of Covid-19
They said that 50 of the deaths occurred in January and the median age of those who died was 85 years and the age range was 55-96 years.
With 54 deaths this evening, it means there has been a total of 3,120 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.
There is also now a total of 191,182 confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland.
Nphet said that of the cases notified today: 618 are men and 711 are women, 54 per cent are under 45 years of age and the median age is 43 years old.
Regarding the location of tonight’s cases: 437 are in Dublin, 114 in Cork, 78 in Galway, 71 in Meath, 61 in Louth and the remaining 574 cases are spread across all other counties.
They said as of 2pm today, 1,670 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised and 217 are in ICU. 81 additional hospitalisations have taken place in the past 24 hours.
Speaking this evening, Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, said: “The current 14 day incidence remains more than double the peak incidence experienced during previous Level 5 measures in October, therefore, now is not the time to drop your guard and start to interact with people outside your household.
“The risk of transmission in the community remains very high. We must continue to work towards reducing incidence of disease and preventing further hospitalisations and deaths.”
Court admits evidence against Naira Marley
The Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos State, on Wednesday, admitted more evidence against Azeez Fashola, popular musician also known as Naira Marley.
Naira Marley was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for offences bordering on conspiracy and credit card fraud.
He pleaded “not guilty” to the 11 counts filed against him.
The EFCC had on February 28, 2020, through its second witness, Augustine Anosike, sought to tender in evidence a compact disc containing information, analysis and extractions from the defendant’s iPhone.
The defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN had objected to its admissibility, which was equally opposed by the prosecution.
In his ruling, Justice Nicholas Oweibo dismissed the objection, noting that “the disk and investigation report include some of the contents extracted from the iPhone which has already been admitted in evidence”.
Thereafter, prosecuting counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, informed the Court that the prosecution was ready to continue with the case as the witness was in court to continue with his testimony.
The case was adjourned following the plea by one of the defence lawyers, Akinwale Kole-Taiwo.
Kole-Taiwo appealed with the Court for an adjournment because, “the lead counsel, Ojo, was in Edo for another matter”.
Following the appeal, Justice Oweibo adjourned till March 8 and 11, 2021 for “continuation of hearing”.