The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has apologised to the Catholic bishops and Christians over his statement that those who opposed President Muhammadu Buhari were corrupt Christian leaders who were unhappy because looters were no longer able to pay tithes to them.
After a barrage of criticism following the remark, Bello said he could never insult men of God as he had “tremendous respect for the Catholic Community.”
In a statement signed on his behalf by his Director General of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, Gov Bello said the reports that he disrespected the Catholic Community and its leaders was “another low by my detractors in their desperation to portray me as an irresponsible leader,” Punch writes.
He said, “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 embattled Kogi governor said he was confident that genuine religious leaders of all faith were united in Buhari’s fight against corruption, insisting that no good religion has a place for corruption and corrupt people.
“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,” he said.