Catholic Bishop describes controversial N42m tithe as "chicken feed"

The cleric insisted that he is against the use of the word “war” as a strategy to fight corruption.

Bishop Matthew Kukah

He said this in response to a question he was asked during a recent interview with Punch.

Kukah was asked of his opinion of the said sum being paid to a church when the society is filled with people who are in need of basic amenities.

He said: “This (N42m tithe) is ‘chicken feed’ compared to what contractors and businessmen and women are paying to corrupt church men, who are largely partners in crime and claim to be praying for rich people.

“So, it is important to check and cross-check your facts. You should educate us by telling us what really happened now that the right hand knows what the left is doing.”

Kukah added that the anti-corruption efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration lacked clear strategy and “proper understanding of the enemy.”

He said that the president's mindset was still that of the military days.

Kukah also expressed sadness that even with the adoption of the word by the government in tackling corruption, the desired results are yet to be achieved.

According to him, the fact that the national assembly and the executive could not agree on a pick for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, spoke poorly of the government's anti-corruption efforts.

“It is not enough to say we will fight the corrupt, especially when the President is still stuck in a mindset of his military days, which sees corruption as something that wicked and unpatriotic politicians and office holders are doing. Still, we believe that corruption is what the political class has done,” he said.

“I was, and still am, against the lack of vision, clarity, diagnosis, strategy and intellectual depth of what we call a fight against corruption.

“Conceptually, I was and am against the idea of the metaphor of war as a strategy because once we saw it as a war, the government believed it only needed to rally its army and then go to the war front.

“Sadly, even if we took that metaphor, we were unlikely to get the desired results because this was a war without timelines, without a proper understanding of the enemy, his strength, and his landscape.

“Every day, the predicament of the government is a more visible and palpable illustration that we were right all along: an assembly led by the ruling party and the President cannot agree on the choice of the chairman (of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), the leader of this fight. What does this tell you?”

Kukah advised that the EFCC should be “less preoccupied with the politics of the moment.”

“All these monies that our sensibilities are being assaulted with, what do they do to us? Are we supposed to salivate or what?

“We have been showing armed robbers on television for years. Has it reduced armed robbery?” he asked.

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