Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state has apologised to Catholic Bishops over a statement credited to him in the media, stating that he had “tremendous respect for the Catholic Institution, and will not do anything to disparage any religious organisation.”
Addressing State House Correspondents at the Villa after Juma’at service last Friday, the governor reportedly slammed the catholic bishops for their damning verdict on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The clerics told Buhari that his government was not only failing, but that his goodwill was fast depleting.
Countering the bishops however, Bello reportedly carpeted them, saying, it was those who had looted the country’s funds that were angry because sources of their free money had been blocked by the current government.
But in a quick U-turn, the governor said he had no reason to disparage the Catholic institution and the entire Christian folks, stressing that he was being misrepresented by the media.
Bello, who stated this in Lokoja yesterday through his Director-General of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, said the reports in the media that he disrespected the Catholic Church and her leaders was not true.
He said: “My statements to the Press were misconstrued and misrepresented but I take full responsibility for this as I tender my unreserved apologies 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.”
Continuing, he said: “The Catholic Church has done very well in promoting literacy and healthcare. 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 destroys justice and fairness.”
As the season of Lent begins, Governor Bello “prays for God’s blessings on all Christians who observe Lent and hopes it will be a period of forgiveness and healing for the people and the country.”