President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) the apex body of all Christians in the country, Pastor Ayodele Oritsejafor has rejected the proposal of dialogue between the government and the Boko Haram extremists.
Pastor Oritsejafor said the government must battle the sect to submission because it is “wicked”.
Pastor Oritsejafor, in a statement yesterday, condemned Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim for his comments last week that the Federal Government must dialogue with Boko Haram as the only way to stop the killings and insecurity.
The cleric said Ibrahim’s insistence that the reasons for the sect’s actions are inequality, neglect and injustice should be probed and that the Senator should be held responsible for the activities of the Boko Haram sect.
Pastor Oritsejafor advised the government to deal with the sect instead of listening to the Senator.
He said the Boko Haram sect should be made to pay for all its misdeeds against Christians over the years.
Pastor Oritsejafor vowed not to accept any dialogue with Boko Haram that will not involve compensating families of Christians killed and churches bombed by the “wicked” sect.
He said elders in the North, especially those in the Northeast zone, hold the key to the cessation of violence in the region and “should begin to discuss how to end the unprovoked attacks on Christians and their churches”.
In a statement in Abuja by his Special Assistant, Mr. Kenny Ashaka, the CAN President said: “Pastor Oritsejafor believes that the statement by the senator that “we can find a way really to help dialogue with this group; after all, they are all Nigerians, at least as far as we know…, is overly reckless, irresponsible and insensitive, just as it is a panacea for encouraging the increasingly violent and daring sect.
“In the first place, he says, it is naïve for Senator Ibrahim to reason that if the Federal Government dialogued with Boko Haram, the sect would limit itself to concessions made when they have stated, clearly, that their aim is to do away with western education and enthrone the Islamic law of Sharia’ah. The President of CAN advises Ibrahim not to panic into making recommendations that are short-sighted and that as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he should not take counsel from only a section of a state or region.
“He expects Senator Ibrahim to help put the sect in strict subjection to the laws of the land, rather than treading the dangerous path of dialogue, which has always been truncated by harsh conditions from the sect members. According to him, Senator Ibrahim must bear a heavy responsibility for the spiralling violence of Boko Haram against Christians in Yobe State if he now speaks of inequality, neglect and injustice, which are direct consequences of the neglect of the people by those who govern them, himself a two-time governor of Yobe State inclusive.
“If, today, the people are fighting biting poverty, inequality and injustice as Senator Ibrahim would want us to believe, it is his likes that should be held responsible for being the sources of their poverty. In that case, Boko Haram’s anger should have been directed at leaders like Senator Abba Bukar Ibrahim who have not allowed their members to take full advantages of the vast economic opportunities that exist in Northern Nigeria .
“It is hypocritical for Senator Ibrahim to now make the country and her citizens to pay a heavy price for their ineptitude. In fact, apart from the extremist ideology of Boko Haram, I am tempted to believe that Senator Ibrahim’s statement is also a confirmation that the increasing violence in the North is a sponsored revolt to pressure the Federal Government into making huge regional concessions. The Federal Government should, therefore, not succumb to blackmail from any quarters on account of the Boko Haram issue but should remain focused in dealing with the sect members in accordance with the laws of the land.
“It is worrisome that a senator of the status of Ibrahim, rather than pursue a secularist ideology on which the survival and stability of this country depend, is giving an advice that favours Boko Haram, a sect that has killed many Christians, bombed and burnt churches. I am shocked that Senator Ibrahim is not worried by the growing killings of Christians in his home state, Yobe, where five Christians, including their pastor were killed on Christmas day. Few days after these killings and burning of 20 houses, Senator Ibrahim is only concerned with government’s dialogue with the sect members. What a shameful act.
“Let me state that any dialogue that ignores the issue of compensation for the families of Christians killed and churches bombed or burnt, businesses destroyed, would be unacceptable to the Christian Association of Nigeria.”
In Makurdi, a retired Police Commissioner, Abubakar Tsav, said North’s leaders can’t speak openly against the sect because they are afraid of being attacked.
Tsav said during the Niger Delta militants bombings and destruction of pipelines, none of the leaders in that region spoke out against the activities of the group.
“From our finding so far, the northern leaders are not speaking openly against the activities of Boko Haram for fear of being attacked, just as the Federal Government is not doing enough.”
He explained that while the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua , a northerner, was able to tackle the crisis in the Niger Delta, President Goodluck Jonathan has not been able to address the Boko Haram insurgency.
The former Lagos State police commissioner noted that northern leaders are worried that they have been left alone to suffer destruction and the Federal Government seems not to be worried about the situation in the region where the economy is affected.
Tsav said the recent killing of General Muhammed Shuwa,a war hero, in the presence of armed soldiers in his house, should be probed.
“Nobody has set up a committee of inquiry to probe the brutal murder of Gen. Shuwa,who was not involved in politics. He was not even known as a public commentator and some people just walked into his house and shot him dead in the presence of military guards, and you want us to believe it is Boko Haram?” Tsav asked.
He said the government has failed Nigerians as there are no jobs and no security.