AFRICA/NIGERIA - "More than persecution against Christians one should speak about the weakening of the rule of law," said the Bishop of Sokoto

Friday, 30 November 2012

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The lack of a political will to end to impunity and enthrone the rule of law, a corrupt judiciary system and balkanization by Europe and the United States have been identified as some of the causes of the persecution of Christians in Africa. This assertion was made by His Exc. Mgr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto (Northern Nigeria) and President of the Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, in his inaugural lecture entitled "The persecution of Christians in Africa: Contexts, Contents and Opportunities," at a Conference on the "The contemporary Christian Martyrs 'Seed of the Church' "held at the Catholic University of Notre Dame in the United States.
According to what is reported by the Catholic News Service of Nigeria, Mgr. Kukah expressed caution in qualifying as persecution against Christians what is happening in Nigeria, particularly the attacks attributed to the Islamist sect Boko Haram. "I personally have serious reservations as to whether we can classify what is happening in Nigeria as the persecution of Christians in the way that this conference frames the issues. Furthermore, the claims and attribution of martyrdom to the victims seems to be hasty and does not do justice to the theology of martyrdom as we understand it. "
According to Mgr. Kukah, the attacks against churches committed by Boko Haram are mainly a consequence of the weakening of the State, rather than a demonstration of the true relations between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria: "We must not confuse the visible manifestations of the severe weaknesses of a failing State, shown visibly in its incapacity to restrain and punish the criminal aggressor and then use it to measure the relation between Christians and Muslims as is often stated in the case of Nigeria."
The solution to the crisis in Nigeria, according to Mgr. Kukah, then passes through strengthening of the Rule of law, especially through the fight against corruption, one of the major causes of poverty of the population of a Country rich in resources, which in turn feeds religious extremism. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/11/2012)