Catholic Bishop of Sokoto diocese, Most Revd. Matthew Kukah, has cautioned members of the National Assembly against making laws that could disunite Nigeria. He gave this warning in Abuja while speaking at the 50th birthday celebration of Senator Osita Izunaso and the 11th anniversary of his Kpakpando Foundation for physically challenged persons.
Bishop Kukah said Nigeria has gone through a lot of tough times since the days of independence up to the present day, which has made the country fragile and sensitive, and has positioned the society on the brinks of disintegration. He described as regrettable the plan by some lawmakers to call for the introduction of sharia law across the country and challenged all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity, religion or party affiliation to join hands in making national cohesion a day-to-day reality for every citizen.
He said: “This country has gone through so much. We have shed so much blood. We are still going through the problem of Boko Haram. We are still going through the problems of Niger-Delta Avengers; we are still going through the problems of Biafra. “It saddens me to hear that politicians, again, are filled with the idea of Sharia law. “I want to call out to the members of the National Assembly. Nigeria does not belong to nobody. It does not belong to Christians. It does not belong to Muslims. It does not belong to APC, or to PDP. It belongs to all of us. Therefore, irrespective of our ethnicity, religion, social status, we all have a role to play in this country. Keeping this country united is paramount. “The greatest challenge we face as a nation is National Integration. Everywhere you turn, the country is crying for justice and national cohesion.” Kukah also faulted the structure of the Nigerian state and attributed the faults in the political system to the deficiencies of the constitution. “I think it is important that we ask how is it that that no constitution can foresee the future? The best a constitution can do is to articulate the dreams and aspirations of the people. Therefore you see in making constitution, there are certain realities and people that are never covered by the constitution. “If as it is, we are trying to construct a social order that focuses on national beliefs and common citizenship, what really are the critical issues that we must put in order? “To answer that question we have to talk about the structure of the Nigerian state, and how it has produced so much poverty in the nation. “We must therefore come to the reality of the kind of political system and structure that we have that produces such massive poverty amidst so much wealth in an environment of this nature, where even those who are able-bodied or have graduated from tertiary institutions cannot find a job. “Therefore, I make the call, the issue of building our country is too important to be left in the hands of executives alone. Those of you who carry the responsibility of guiding our country, who have been entrusted with that service, must do all that lies within your powers to make national cohesion become a day-today reality for every Nigerian.” Meanwhile, Senator Osita Izunaso said although he is glad to have reached the milestone of age 50, his will be fulfilled when the House of Representatives passes the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill, currently on the floor of the House, which seeks to provide social protection to persons with disabilities and provide safeguards against any discrimination that they may suffer as that bill will bring succour to the physically challenged in the society whom he has consistently empowered on every of his birthday celebrations since 2005. As part of the celebrations, senator Izunaso presented the key to a brand new Toyota Corolla salon car to a disabled man, Jaja Oparaku, for his selfless service to other disabled persons in Imo state. Izunaso also gave the keys to a newly-constructed house in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, to another physically challenged man, Jamilu Adamu., as a free gift. Over 2,500 other persons with disabilities, drawn across the country, went home with various gift items which include; sewing machines, crutches, automated wheel chairs, grinding machines etc. Earlier on, Catholic Bishop of Orlu diocese, Emeritus Revd Gregory Ochiagha, applauded the kind gestures of Senator Izunaso expressed towards the physically challenged in the society and called on Nigerians to pray for him and support the Kpakpando Foundation in its good works. Dignitaries present at the event include; national chairman of All Progressive Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir, El-Rufai; Speaker of the House fof Represenrtatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Governors of Sokoto, Jigawa, Plateau, and Bauchi states: Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Badaru Abubakar, Simon Lalong, and Abubakar Muhammad; Ministers of Transport, Federal Capital Territory, Science and Technology, and Labour and Productivity: Rotimi Amaechi, Muhammed Bello, Ogbonnaya Onu, and Chris Ngige amongst others.
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