Bello to Catholic Bishops, Christians: I’m sorry, my comments not for you

By Editor on 12/02/2018

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Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has taken back his words, which attempted to depict Catholic Church bishops as corrupt and beefing with President Muhammadu Buhari, because he closed their sources of illicit money.

Bello had visited the Presidential Villa in Abuja, last Friday, a day after the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), where they warned the President that his government was fast derailing and losing the support of the people for its inability to solve their problems.

There, after praying with the President during the Jumat prayers, the governor was accosted by State House Correspondents who asked him to react to the position of the clergymen, thus eliciting the reactions, which many saw as unsalvoury and negative.

Bello was quoted as saying: “Yes, it is very true that Nigerians are angry but the question is who are this category of Nigerians who are angry? The category of Nigerians that are angry are those who used private jets to cart away Nigeria’s money in dollars out of the country to South Africa. I’m sure you are aware that our money is still locked down there, such money if you bring it into the economy, a lot of youths that are unemployed will surely be employed.

“And of course those that have looted the country dry and normally go to the church and mosque to pay tithe are no longing doing so. Of course we these are the category of people that are angry.

“If you look at it critically, the farmers, those with real jobs are happy because the economy is improving. In no time we have come out of recession, our foreign reserve is increasing, no more bombing in Sambisa, no more bombing in the country, no more bombing in Embab plaza even as close as Abuja, no more bombing in Suleja and all over the country. I think those that are benefiting from these crimes and criminality will be angry and they are Nigerians. So it is important to define the category of people who are angry.

“I want to urge Nigerians to continue to appreciate Mr. President, pray for him so that the good work he has started he will complete it, so that Nigeria will be not of the woods.”

The comment, elicited a lot of reactions, from different segments of Nigeria, including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), some Catholic Church bodies, civil society organisations, with the bishops themselves denying the allegation that their intervention had some pecuniary undertones.

On Saturday, Senator Dino Melaye, an arch-political enemy of the governor, pleaded with scandalised Christian faithful in Nigeria and beyond, especially the Catholic Church for forgiveness, saying Bello had actually lost his soul.

Image result for catholic bishops with buhari

The bishops with Buhari

In a one-paragraph statement, he personally signed, the Senator, said:  “I apologise to the Catholic Church and the Christian community for the verbal diarrhea of the governor of Kogi State. It is more obvious than ever that he need some equational balances on his end. This affliction on Nigeria shall not arise a second time.”

But the governor, in a statement, on Monday, explained that his statement was misconstrued and was actually not targeted at the bishops , whom he said he had the highest regards for.

In the statement by his spokesman, Kingsley Fanwo, the governor said he could never insult men of God as he had tremendous respect for the Catholic Community, neither would he do anything to belittle any religious organisation.

“The report that I disrespected the Catholic Community and its leaders is another low by my detractors in their desperation to portray me as an irresponsible leader. I know genuine religious leaders of all faith are united in Buhari’s fight against corruption, and no good religion condoles corruption and corrupt people.

“My statements to the press were misconstrued and misrepresented but I take full responsibility, for this as I tender my unreserved apology to the Catholic bishops and by extension my Christian brothers and sisters who are displeased with my statement on tithing.

“I recognise the enormous contributions of the Catholic Church to entrenching a social order which is devoid of corruption, oppression and in the promotion of socio-economic justice.

“The Catholic Church has done very well in promoting literacy and health care. I am quite familiar with a good number of Catholic priests and I know their stance on the issue of corruption. Every church and religion must fight corruption because corruption oppresses the poor and destroy justice and fairness,” the statement said.




Posted on February, 12 2018

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