LAGOS — PRESIDENT of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Archbishop Adewale Martins are saddened by the twin explosions by Boko Haram in Kano metropolis where no fewer than 53 people were killed and scores injured.
The Catholic cleric through the Archdiocesan Director of Social Communications, Monsignor Gabriel Osu, condemned the blasts in Kano, saying that it was particularly painful that the attack occured during the holy month of Ramadan.
He said: “We are sincerely saddened by the latest development especially coming at a time when the committee set up by the Federal Government to ensure peace in the North has assured the nation that it is on top of the situation. We are tired of speaking on the state of insecurity in the nation.”
Pastor Oritsejafor was particularly traumatized by the news from Biu, Borno State that 16 Christians were handcuffed and burnt to death by members of the Boko Haram sect within the precinct of a church in the ancient city on Sunday, a day before one of the explosions in Kano went off at the Christ Salvation Pentecostal Church at the peak of evening worship.
On behalf of CAN, the President commiserated with the victims of the bomb attack, the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the Kano and Biu tragedies, insisting that these happenings were a further confirmation that the primary targets of the Boko Haram sect are Christians and their churches. He prayed that God should grant unto the families of the departed the grace of comfort at this trying moment.
Pastor Oritsejafor said with the bombing of the Pentecostal Church, the killing of Christian non-indigenes in Kano and the 16 Christians burnt to death in Biu, the Federal Government should consider the handshake to the Islamic militant group as having extended beyond the elbow.
According to him, the Boko Haram sect is becoming more untrustworthy as this latest killings of non-indigenes and Christians in their places of worship have further stirred the sensibilities of the people.
Orisejafor said: With the persistent and continuing attacks on innocent Nigerians who are largely non-indigenes and churches in the northern part of the country for four years on by the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, the need for an all-round strategy to rein in the Islamic insurgents has become more persuasive now more than ever before.
“We in CAN commend officers and men of the special forces for taking extra-ordinary steps to protect the lives and property of innocent Nigerians. The Police and the Department of State Service, DSS, should do the same and in addition sharpen their investigative skills.
“As it is, we would not be wrong to think that those who buy the extreme ideologies of the Boko Haram sect have infiltrated the ranks of all the security arms of the nation as intelligence sharing and management seem thwarted by agents of the sect within the system.
“If personalities who do not have the mandate of the people speak as though representing them, those mushrooming as champions of the North would also add to inspire the terrorist into action against those who are from other regions and religions.
“In the meantime, we plead with Islamic scholars to begin to restructure the unsymmetrical unity among them which has manifested in the evolution of five denominational ideologies, namely Suni, Shia, Tijania, Izala and Ahmadiya. The real Islam that CAN knows should make true leaders of the faith to rectify the contradictions of arbitrary knowledge of the Qur’an to remind those pushed out of the line to seek the good of all.
“Having waived the olive branch, constituted a committee to dialogue with the result that more Nigerians, especially Christians are being killed during the month of Ramadan, CAN believes that her members are targeted for annihilation. This is a war of ethnic and religious cleansing by the Islamic fundamentalists. There is, currently, a particularly tiny tribe of contaminous and irascible Islamic clerics who take delight in inflaming passions. We urge them to keep passion aside and rally behind the Special Forces in order to defeat the current enemy. We urge them to tone down their rhetorics and take more and far reaching actions that would see an end to this undeserved violence on innocent Nigerians.
“By doing this, they will be joining the league of the “civilian JTF in Borno State” who have since been fired by nationalistic fervor to fight against terrorists. They should not throw barbs when the north-east part of the northern region is a hotbed of the terrorists. As true believers in the fact that fundamentalism and terrorism is not that of Islam, fearlessness, courage and determination should be their major weapons. Once again, we appeal to well meaning Nigerians, friendly nations in Africa and indeed the international community to come to the aid of Nigeria in her bid to stem this evil tide of violence