The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Wednesday condemned the presidency for what it described as an unwarranted joining of issues with Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Rt Rev Matthew Kukah over his presentation to the American Congress.

HURIWA said the statement of Kukah to the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs needs not to have generated controversy if not that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari has: “degenerated to the Banana Republic whereby the elected leaders of the country have transposed themselves into tyrants who are scared of the truth and who are doing everything under the Sun to crush independent voices”.

The group recalled Kukah had alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was showing a preference for people of his religion and ethnic group in matters of appointments for enforcement of the relevant policies and legal framework against rising insecurity.

The Bishop also said Christians were being targeted by insurgents and bandits with the government unable to tackle the security challenge.

The presidency reacted to the statement on Sunday, describing it as false just as the Senior Special Assistant to Buhari Garba Shehu dismissed Kukah’s approach as: “crude, primitive, puerile, tendentious and absolutely disrespectful to the person of the revered Roman Catholic prelate”.

The Presidency further lambasted Kukah over his comments about the persecution of Christians in Nigeria by armed extremist groups in the North, stating it was “troubling when a so-called man of the Church copies the worst excesses of those seeking personal advancement in public office.”

HURIWA, in a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the spokesman of the President has only succeeded in celebrating his scanty understanding of the Constitution by making the above unintelligent and insensitive remarks.

HURIWA said: “We totally endorse the presentation made by His Lordship the Bishop of the Catholic diocese of Sokoto for these are facts that are empirical and we are witnesses to the ongoing nepotistic appointments of President Muhammadu Buhari and the consistent killings of Christian clerics by Islamists are facts which President Muhammadu Buhari can’t hide from”.

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