In a statement on Tuesday, the president and secretary general of the union, Peter Esele and John Kolawole respectively, advised Christian leaders and their followers not to be drawn into “an era of senseless religious wars as a result of the attacks”.
They added that huge amount appropriated to security in 2012 budget could not solve the problems posed by the Boko Haram insurgency, saying more attention should be given to bringing perpetrators to book.
According to them, “If all the security chiefs cannot come up with solutions to arrest their sponsors and nip in the bid this faceless group, then they should be sacked immediately. We call on the Inspector General of Police to drive the process that will result in effective policing of the entire country, instead of the current scenario where men of the Nigerian Police have turned themselves into “toll collectors” on the nation’s highways.’’
On Tuesday, President Jonathan, a Christian, and the sultan, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, held a meeting which lasted about an hour. The two leaders discussed how to curb the increasingly deadly wave of inter-religious violence sweeping Nigeria, and while they did not agree on any specifics, the talks could lead to increased dialogue in the country.
Currently, Islam and Christianity are equally split as Nigeria’s two main religions, with most Muslims living in the north of the country and most Christians in the south. This divide has been the source of significant tension in the past, and Boko Haram has been able to thrive in such an environment. Most of the group’s attacks are in the northern states already under sharia law, but Boko Haram has begun moving southward.