- from Tony Akowe -
Christians yesterday talked tough on the lingering Boko Haram insurgency.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) rejected the position of the United States that poverty is propelling the activities of the sect, which has claimed responsibility for the series of killings and explosions in the North.
Boko Haram (Western Education is a sin) claimed responsibility for last year’s suicide bombing of the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) and its agencies in Abuja and the Police Headquarters in Abuja.
The sect also bombed a church in Madalla, near Abuja, on Christmas Day, last year.
Although it has not claimed responsibility for it, the sect is believed to be behind the Easter Sunday explosion in Kaduna which left scores dead and many property destroyed.
Book Haram also yesterday killed five people in Borno State.
In a statement yesterday, CAN President Ayo Oritsejafor urged President Goodluck Jonathan to “stamp his feet on the ground against this cancer of Boko Haram”.
Pastor Oritsejafor’s statement, signed by Kenny Ashaka, his media assistant, said:
“When the London riots took place in Britain, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, cut short his holiday and returned to his country. His speech on arrival left no one in doubt that he is in charge. He gave a stern warning, which was followed immediately and in just a few hours the offenders were apprehended and the streets were sparkling clean.
“President Goodluck Jonathan must stamp his feet on the ground against this cancer of Boko Haram. Coming on the heels of the violent attack on Kaduna during the Easter celebration, Potiskum in Yobe State and Dikwa in Borno State, the signs are ominous for a secular state like Nigeria.
“Again, the President of CAN called on the President not to pamper these death merchants in order to maintain the secular nature of Nigeria devoid of any manifest religious sentiments.
“The President of CAN rejects the views of the American government announced through the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr. Johnnie Carson, that “the threat from Boko Haram grows as Nigeria’s standard of living declines”, and that “life in Nigeria may be tough for many, but life in the North is grim for many”.
“Therefore, the Boko Haram activity ‘is a popular narrative up for insurgents to hijack for their own purposes’. We reject the reason being peddled by the American government and some Boko Haram apologists in the North that poverty and injustice is the spark for the sect members’ action.
“In the first place, the kind of arms and ammunition in the hands of the sect can only be purchased by those with heavy financial power. A fair comparison of any other region with the North shows that the section of the North referred to by Carson has been the greatest beneficiary of the project called Nigeria.
“The north has been in leadership for the greater part of Nigeria’s golden jubilee and its greatest annoyance seems to be the displacement from this position because this same section of the region believes that they are ‘born to rule’.
“We urge the American government to always cross-check their facts before jumping into conclusions in matters concerning foreign countries they know little or nothing about. Adopting what is written for their officials who are outside their shores without verifying the truth would do America no good.
“We would implore the American government officials, if they believe in fairness, to arrive Nigeria and undertake an impartial assessment of the situation in Nigeria. We wonder if churches and Christians alone are the cause of the poverty Mr. Carson talked about. How have churches contributed to the injustice in the North?
“We state emphatically that Boko Haram is a product of extreme religious ideology. This is so because there is no explanation for Osama bin Laden and Mutallab of Nigeria to become terrorists since they are both of rich background. The American government must, therefore, call Boko Haram what they are- terrorists”.
While sympathising with victims of the Easter Sunday explosion and attack in parts of the North, the statement said “the President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, on behalf of the Christians in the country, condoles with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the Kaduna, Kano, Borno and Yobe attacks during the Easter celebration.
“He prays that God will fight for the unarmed and appealed to those behind the dastardly act to see reason and stop the attacks in the interest of the unity of the country. Oritsejafor noted that what should be paramount in the minds of every Nigerian is the unity of the country and that what those who attacked the four cities have done was evil.
“Appealing to those responsible for the attacks to have respect for the sanctity of human lives, the President of CAN remarked that it is unfortunate that while people are striving to attune themselves to the rejuvenation of their spiritual lives, death merchants lurked around, killing innocent citizens.”No. of Views:189