Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, has lamented the hardship and deaths Nigerians are currently going through as a result of the increasing insecurity in the country occasioned by the lack of empathy and silence by leaders.
Kukah spoke as a panellists at the May 1 edition of the ‘Platform’ organized by Pastor Poju Oyemade of the Covenant Christian Centre on Saturday in Lagos.
Speaking on the topic, ‘We need to Exhale,’ Kukah who has been a constant critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, he said “Nigerians no longer get the sense that their leaders understand their pain.”
The cleric added that the “government must develop a sense of empathy” if they are to give Nigerians a sense of belonging and empathy.
His words: “I have said it several times and I do not mean anything negative.
“Everywhere you turn, this is what Nigerians are saying, that people are dying and we don’t get a sense that those who govern us understand and feel our pain because we have not seen them at our funerals.”
“We have not seen them at condolence visits; we’ve not seen them whether by telephone call or whatever.
“Empathy is not sympathy; empathy is at the heart of who we are as human beings. That is, it is what makes you go to greet somebody who is dying and you put your hand over their shoulder and you tell them it will be okay.
“Empathy is the feeling of the sorrow, the pain of the other person – indeed, entering the skin of another person.
“It (empathy) does not bring healing immediately, but there is a certain kind of psychological comfort that it brings.
“The agony faced by suffering Nigerians had been increased by simple statements from their leaders that really say nothing to us.
“The point I am making on the issue of Nigerians dying, the government has come up very short and this is what is increasing the pain, the agony, the sorrow of people, that we are dying alone, burying our people alone and all we get are just simple statements that really say nothing to us.
“I want to end by saying the lack of empathy and the deployment of empathy has consequences.”