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National Leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has
expressed disappointment at the poor handling of the security challenge
thrown by the violent activities of the Boko Haram sect warning that if the
killing of Christians by the sect persists, they would be left with no option
than to defend themselves.
CAN President Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, who led other clerics to a meeting
with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Villa seat of power scored the
Federal Government low on its haphazard response to the Boko Haram
menace said its anxiety was heightened by the admittance by the National
Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi that government was being
overwhelmed by the security challenge.
President Jonathan had on Tuesday met with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji
Sa”ad Abubakar 111, in after which the latter publicly denounced the Boko
Haram sect whom he described as evil people.
The Christian community, Oritsejafor disclosed was fast losing confidence
on the ability of the federal government to tame the Boko Haram monster,
warning that the consequences of government inaction was grave to the
“The Christian Community is fast losing confidence in government’s ability
to protect our rights to religious liberties and life. The consensus is that the
Christian community nationwide would be left with no other option than to
respond appropriately if there are any further attacks on our members,
churches and properties”, he lamented.
He expressed disgust that despite the huge human loss recorded as a
result of the Christmas Day bombings, the security agencies were yet to
make any high profile arrest.
Oritsejafor, accused Muslim cleric of abdication of responsibility in not
being able to call their members to order, adding that their often public
criticism of the sect was hypocritical.
“Having reviewed the trend and frequency with which these terror crimes
occur, it fits into the profile of Islamic Jihad over the years on the Christian
community, which properly are contextualised. It is considered as a
declaration of war on Christians and Nigeria as an entity.
“CAN has found the responses of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs
and other Islamic bodies on this matter to be unacceptable and abdication
of their responsibilities over their extremist members. It is on record that
most religious, traditional and political leaders in the North have not come
out to openly condemn the extremist activities of Boko Haram. We hold
them responsible for what is happening, because they have not taken
concrete steps to check the excesses of their members”, he added.
Responding President assured that he would soon overhaul the nation’s
security apparatus in response to the emerging challenges, which he said
was a novel introduction in organized violence.
Describing the Boko Haram menace as a collective attack against the
entire country, the president stated that the act of terrorism was pervasive
in nature and hence could occur in any part of the country.
“This terror attack is new to us but I can assure you that we are doing our
best to make sure that we get over it. Other countries that have
experienced it are also helping us. Both African and non-African countries
that have suffered attacks are assisting.
“I encourage Nigerians to work with government because when we work
together collectively, we will get over it. The terrorists are human beings,
they are not spirits, they live with us, they dine with us. We know them,
people know them. As long as Nigerians are committed to expose them,
we will get over this ugly situation.
“At the security level, we are doing our best, we will restructure, we will re-
adjust and make sure we get a team that will meet with the challenge we
are facing today.”
Jonathan said the security issue deteriorated to its present state because
of the failure of those concerned to nip the issue in the bud.
He recalled that in December 2009, when a Nigerian was caught in a flight
to US while attempting to bomb the aircraft, all Nigerians were surprised
and embarrassed and they thought such people were not living within them
and were contaminated outside.
“Now we have come to meet the reality that we have terrorists and even
suicide bombers among us. We must fish them out, we only ask for the
cooperation of all Nigerians,” Jonathan disclosed.
Following the Christmas Day bombing in some churches which claimed
several lives, President Jonathan had been meeting leading cleric across
the country to avert a potential religious strife.
In a related development, the South East zone of CAN has expressed
anxiety over the Christmas Day bombing in some churches warning that if
the trend persists, it would encourage faithful to defend themselves.
Boko Haram: Christians will fight back if…CAN
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Thursday, December 29, 2011
President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor