Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, says Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), should have spoken with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, last week, and not US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.
The fiery cleric, however, said “half bread is better than nothing”, adding that the meeting is a sign that Nigeria is going somewhere.
Kukah spoke at the 2021 edition of The Platform, an annual conference organised by the Senior Pastor of the Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos, Poju Oyemade.
Buhari in a virtual meeting on Tuesday met Blinken and had asked for the support of the Biden administration to tackle the security menace in Nigeria.
Buhari, who warned of a likely spill over of insecurity to neighbouring West African states, also called on the US to consider relocating US Africa Command from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, nearer the Theatre of Operation.
Speaking on Saturday, Kukah said, “Of course, all of us are angry but in my view, the challenge therefore is what kind of palliative do we need to calm our nerves and I am not talking here of the palliatives in the way and manner that we understand them but something needs to happen to send out a signal to Nigerians that things are under control.
“With the fact that we have the US Secretary of State speaking to us virtually, we would have preferred that our President spoke to the President of America rather than the Secretary of State but anyway, half bread is better than nothing.
“I want to assure that this is a sign that we are going somewhere but we need to quickly get our people together, the need to rally our people together both to support government and otherwise is very urgent and we cannot do this if our country is divided between those who love the party and those who don’t love the party. We are in a democracy and we want to believe that this democracy has to be nurtured and the best we can do is not to subvert the process but to continue to uphold the ideals before those who are in power.”
“On the issue of Nigerians dying, government has come very short and this is what is increasing the pain, the agony, the sorrow of people that we are dying alone, burying our people alone and all we get are just simple statements that really say nothing to us. The lack of empathy and the deployment of empathy have two consequences.
“Government must have a sense of empathy and I have said this severally and I do not mean anything negative and everywhere you turn, this is what Nigerians are saying that people are dying and you do not get a sense that those who govern us understand our pain because we have not seen them on condolence visits.
“Empathy is not sympathy, empathy is at the heart of who we are as human being; it is the feeling of the sorrow, of the pain of the other person, indeed, entering the skin of the other person, it does not bring healing meeting but there is a certain kind of psychological comfort that it gives,” the cleric added.