The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, says a military approach will not end pro-Biafran protests across the country.
Kukah, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, was reacting to the fresh charges filed against the founder of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The cleric insisted that the Federal Government should settle the crisis arising from the agitation for Biafra out of court.
The Federal Government had on Friday filed six counts, including treasonable felony, against Kanu before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Kanu’s detention is fuelling pro-Biafran protests across the country.
Kukah said, “A military and judicial approach would not work. We are in a democracy where dialogue, diplomacy and patience are the hallmarks of good leadership. The Federal Government should open a backdoor channel to get Kanu to renounce alleged hate speeches and violence.
“My position on Kanu is straightforward. I am not in any way saying that he is innocent but in order to avoid upheavals and tension, the government should settle through engagement. One of the parties has to trade something for something else. We are not in a military regime. Dialogue is the solution.”
The cleric also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to treat the recent killings of some members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria by the Nigerian Army in Zaria as a national disaster.
He said he expected the President to declare a national mourning due to the number of deaths recorded in the clash.
Many lives were lost when soldiers clashed with the members of the group also known as Shi’ite, in Zaria last week.
Members of the group reportedly blocked a federal highway and tried to prevent the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai’s motorcade from driving through.
He said, “As far as I am concerned, the Zaria killing is a national disaster. I expected the President to have declared a national mourning, especially because of the number of people that lost their lives. There is no way the President would not be held responsible because the buck stops at his table. However, this is not the time to apportion blame because there is enough blame to go round.”
Kukah, therefore, shunned calls for the removal of Buratai over the killings, saying that would not bring back those that lost their lives.
He said Buhari’s critics should wait for the panel of enquiry inaugurated to investigate the killings to submit their report. (Punch)