A Catholic group under the aegies of Concerned Catholics in Nigeria (CCN), has lambasted the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, following comments he made in an interview where he allegedly referred to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis in a blasphemous manner.
The Governor who is the Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Coincil of the Progressives Congress (APC), in an interview on Wednesday, had said that as a Catholic himself, even the Pope had not told him he was wrong to campaign for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
In a press conference held in Abuja on Thursday, the CCN insisted that Lalong must tender an “unreserved apology for the global embarrassment his unguarded remarks caused the Pope and the entire Church.”
While briefing journalists at the press conference, the President of the group, Dr Ben Amodu, said the Catholic community in Nigeria would “ensure that Lalong atoned for his public blasphemous statement about the Pope and the Church.
“We are alarmed that Governor Simon Bako Lalong would elect to throw caution into the wind by dragging the revered Catholic Church into local politics in Nigeria for whatever it is worth.
“The reference to the Pope in his statement for accepting to serve as the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council was made in poor taste and a puerile attempt to drag the Catholic Church into a matter that has no bearing with the Pope.
“We find it hard to believe that Governor Lalong would find it morally convenient to drag the Pope and the entire Catholic community into the APC politics of Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“It is an act of aberrance in desperation to serve his paymasters, hence the despicable statement by Governor Lalong in seeking the justification for his actions, which falls within his rights, but not to the detriment of the collective sensibilities of other Catholics in Nigeria and around the world.
“Governor Lalong has displayed a tendency that he does not identify with the religious sensitivity in the country. He has carried on like the typical politician who thinks only about himself and his immediate family, not minding the consequences of his actions on the overall psyche of others, as in this case.
“Governor Lalong must consequently tender an unreserved apology to the Catholic community in Nigeria for dragging the Pope into the murky waters of Nigerian politics. It remains unjustifiable and as much condemnable.
“We are also using this medium to call for the suspension of Governor Lalong from the Catholic Church for bringing the Church into disrepute and maligning the name of the Pope for his advantage and that of his party, the All Progressive Congress, APC.
“The leadership of the Catholic community in Nigeria must ensure that Governor Lalong is made to atone for his blasphemous statement about the Pope and the Catholic Church in public,” the group said.
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