The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Sunday faulted Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah for suggesting that President Muhammadu Buhari be removed through an undemocratic process.

The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese in his Christmas message accused the President of nepotism.

He said: “This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness.

‘The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension…

“President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status.

“He has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.

“Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and gotten away with it.

“There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war.

“However, God does not sleep. We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North.”

The NEF said though it cannot agree less with Bishop Kukah that the Buhari administration lacks respect for inclusiveness, it is irresponsible to search for undemocratic solutions.

The Forum’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, told our correspondent that the country is paying a heavy price for mediocrity and ineffectiveness in key areas of decision-making under President Buhari.

He, however, said the Forum will not encourage a contemplation of any other form of government other democracy.

To him, Nigerians who feel there are sufficient grounds to challenge the administration should seek redress in court.

He said: “The Northern Elders Forum will not encourage even contemplation of any other form of government other than one that emerges democratically.

“There are many grounds to question the competence and sensitivity of President Buhari’s administration.

“Even his most ardent supporters, if he has any, that is, will wish he has shown greater respect for inclusion and accountability of those he chooses to trust with power.

“The nation is paying a heavy price for mediocrity and ineffectiveness in key areas of decision-making under President Buhari.

“There is, however, a judicial recourse for abuse of constitutional provisions for federal character in all matters of governance.

“Nigerians who feel there are sufficient grounds to challenge the administration should take advantage of that provision.

“The Forum believes that it is irresponsible to search for solutions to President Buhari’s poor governance outside the democratic process.”

Also on Sunday, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) faulted Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for accusing Bishop Kukah of plotting President Buhari’s removal.

The minister had asked religious leaders to “refrain from stoking the embers of hatred and disunity”.

HURIWA said the minister was economical with the truth and went on the voyage of discovery when he misinterpreted Kukah.

The group said Kukah did not in any way advocate any violent overthrow of a democratically constituted government.

National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, said even some outspoken Northerners like the erstwhile member of the Federal House of Representatives in the second Republic Alhaji Junaid Mohammed have condemned President Buhari’s appointments.

HURIWA said in a statement: “All around the country, it is increasingly difficult for Nigerians to move freely because of the reign of terrorists and armed kidnappers.

“So, is this Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, operating from the moon that he never read nor was told about the persistent violence and bloodshed that his paymaster has totally lost control and can not provide any meaningful solution to?

“Can this Lai Mohammed drive himself unaccompanied by a security detail from Lagos to Ibadan or from Abuja to Ilorin in Kwara State without being kidnapped or attacked?”