The Presidency has accused the Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Mathew Kukah, and other Nigerians opposed to the Buhari-led government of causing the delay of the US selling Tucano fighter jets to Nigeria.
Kukah and the Presidency had engaged in a war of words in the past few days. The clergyman had in his Easter sermon knocked the Buhari-led government for failing to lead the country in the right direction. He alleged that President Buhari had destroyed Nigeria. His statement was however dismissed by the Presidency who accused him of hating on President Buhari.
On Sunday, April 24, Garba Shehu, in a statement titled ‘Predicting Nigeria’s Collapse is a Perennial Pursuit of US Think Tanks and Policy Experts’, reacted to the plan to release an updated book written by a retired former US Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell in which Kukah provided a supportive quote for the dustcover.
Shehu said the US policy and support towards Nigeria, including during the Buhari administration, had been so inconsistent. According to the Presidential spokesperson, despite Kukah’s constant negative views, Campbell had “consistently” said it was in the interests of the US to encourage democracy and security in Nigeria.
Shehu said it seemed unlikely the conclusion of the book to be published by the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think-tank would be that Nigeria was improving on any measure.
”In 2015 the then newly-elected Buhari government requested US military support in the form of Super Tucano jet fighters for the Nigerian Air Force. The Nigerian military, security, and intelligence services repeatedly made this request. The US administration of the time concurred: the delivery of such jets would help deliver a critical turning point in Nigeria’s struggle against jihadist terrorists across the Sahel.
Yet two years later, that jet delivery was rescinded, the reasons given that unless Nigeria improved its religious relations between Christianity and Islam then US support would not be forthcoming in this, and many other areas.
Such views were compounded by the constant lobbying of US Congress by the opponents of the Nigerian government who had lost the previous election, and many of their southern religious supporters, including Bishop Mathew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Sokoto, who, unsurprising, provides a supportive quote for the dustcover of the new edition of Campbell’s book. (Kukah even took to addressing the US Congress himself, briefing his audience on the history of coups in Nigeria – without, of course, mentioning that none had occurred since 1993, some 29 years ago).
Fortunately, now today under a new US administration these jets have been delivered, and with it, a serious blow against the terrorists – with the supreme leader of Islamic State in West Africa and scores of other leaders of the group eliminated in airstrikes.”Garba said