Catholic priest and Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Maththew Kukah has blamed the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency on northern Muslim elites, saying they must take responsibility that first the members of the terrorist group are their children.
He said that Boko Haram emanated from the inability of the Muslim clerics in the north to preach equality between the poor and the elites but had come up with Sharia laws to deal with only the downtrodden.
According to him, prominent Nigerian Muslims and elites from the terror-torn North insist Boko Haram terrorists know next to nothing about Islam, adding, “I thinks those who simply denounce the terrorists are living in denial.A hypocritical elite continues to believe that it can claim the benefits of democracy but use it only to consolidate its hold on power.”
Kukah who was speaking at a forum organized by the Islamic Welfare Foundation, the Fountain University, Osogbo, said the failure of the northern elites to educate the people contributed majorly to the emergence of Boko Haram.
“This is what has laid the foundation for what is now Boko Haram. We must locate the current crisis of Boko Haram within the context of the inability of the northern Muslim elite to live by their own dubious creed of being Muslims. They preached Sharia Law but only for the poor. They preach a religion that encourages education, yet their own people are held in the bondage of ignorance.
They did not wish to live by the same standards, so they decided to live their own Islam in the capitals of the world away from the prying eyes of their own people. Boko Haram began as a revolt against this mendacity, subterfuge and hypocrisy.
Now, I hear Muslims in northern Nigeria hiding under the cover of the facts by saying: ‘These Boko Haram people are not Muslims. They do not represent us’. Well, first, they are your own children. You must take responsibility for what has made them what they are today and to the rest of society.”
They claim they have been inspired by the Quran and no other holy book. They say they want to build an Islamic state. So, they are Muslims. After all, from the debates of the Constituent Assemblies of 1979, 1988, and 1995 and beyond, did their fathers and grandfathers not stage walkouts, demanding Sharia Law?
The promise to institute Sharia has become the most potent tool for political mobilisation and organisation. Till date, the tactics may have changed, but the essence has not.”
“Rather than face the tough questions of how and why over 15 million children in the northern states are on the streets; how and why the northern states are falling behind on almost every index of development, the northern Muslim elite continues to live for just the moment, with no plans for tomorrow.
It is my considered view that northern Islam has to confront the realities of taking its religion into the modern world of democracy seriously. Muslims in northern Nigeria cannot accept democracy and reject the inclusive nature of its philosophy as it is the case today.”
Kukah then seemed to suggest that the Nigerian schoolgirls Boko Haram could be as good as slave wives.
“Should we pretend that a society that allows the forced marriages of its young daughters could frown on the idea of a group kidnapping and forcing young girls into sexual slavery?” Kukah asked.
“Islam must have an honest look at the mirror and have an internal discussion,” he said.