5th November, 2014
The Christian Association of Nigeria on Wednesday said it was ready to meet senior Muslim clerics with a view to ending the insurgency and unprovoked attack on Christians and churches.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of CAN who said this during the opening ceremony of the association’s National Executive Council meeting in Abuja also said fifth columnists among security agencies who have been sabotaging the government’s war against insurgency should be fished out and dismissed.
The CAN President noted that territories that have fallen under the control of Boko Haram are predominantly populated by Christians who he said, were no longer safe in those parts of the troubled country.
He re-echoed his earlier stance that Boko Haram is waging a religious war against Christians.
Oritshejafor who has consistently been at the front-line in criticising activities of Boko Haram, said the carnage in the North-east is unacceptable.
“What is happening in the North-east is unacceptable,” Oritsejafor affirmed.
“What is happening there is unacceptable to us. Christians are the main victims. We are not saying that other people are not affected.
“But Christians are the ones affected more. All the places where Boko Haram has foisted their flags are dominated by Christians.”
“They have taken over Mubi in Adamawa state which is dominated by Christians. Somebody will now tell me this is not religion. Who is fooling who? Nigerians should accept that we have a problem,” the leader of Christian community in Nigeria stated.
He however called on the leadership of the military to fish out saboteurs if the war against terror must be won.
“All well meaning Nigerians must pray and continue to pray. We must pray. I will not join those condemning our security agencies. They are Nigerians. Women are losing their husbands and children are losing their fathers. I want to challenge the military. They can do better. They must continue to fish out those sabotaging their efforts. Those people should be expelled. They are in all the security agencies.
“No matter the intention you have, if you have people working against you, you will not succeed. There are too many people in the system working against the system. Why should these kind of things be happening? Innocent people are being killed. It’s too much. Enough is enough,” Oritsejafor told the audience.
On the forthcoming general elections, Oritsejafor appealed to Christians across the country to register and vote, adding that they must participate in who govern them.
Oritsejafor who said he suspects a cover up on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the poor handling of the distribution of the permanent voters’ cards, warned that any plans to disenfranchise Christians will be resisted.
“I want to say passionately to Nigerians. Go and get your voters’ cards. I want to appeal to INEC to double up. Our people must register and have their voters’ cards. I hope INEC is not doing something deliberate here in order to prevent Christians from voting. I hope Professor Attahiru Jega can hear me. We must all vote and vote wisely.”
The Cleric advised that the Federal Government and other critical stakeholders should adopt another approach in bringing an end to activities of Boko Haram, Oritsejafor warned that the use of force alone cannot end the insurgency.
He said,” Even though I have said the military must continue to work harder, guns and bullets alone will not save this problem. Boko Haram is an ideology. Let us not run away from it. You do not defeat an idealogy with guns and bullets. You defeat an idealogy with a superior ideology. Boko Haram will not listen to me.
“I want to make an appeal to our Muslim clerics and Muslim political leaders to come together and see how they can help us solve this problem. They have the solution. There are some muslim scholars Boko Haram members respect. To a large extent, that is the only way out.
“As members of CAN, we are ready to meet with them. I believe in progressive dialogue. This is my strong appeal. I want to appeal to those at the grass root. This connects to the leaders. The leaders should talk to those at the grass roots. They should give reliable intelligence to our security agents. Please, do not harbour these people. They are not fighting for you. Expose them.
“We want a better Nigeria, where everyone is equal and respects the constitution. In fact, we want one constitution where everyone will follow. Those saying Boko Haram is not religious are deceiving themselves.
“We want a Nigeria where everyone is safe. We want a Nigerian where a man is not judged by his religion. That is the Nigeria we all want. If we want one united Nigeria, we must all pay the price for it.”
Calling on the international community to come to the aid of Nigeria and Nigerians, Oritsejafor said he still believes the country will surmount its current challenges and come out stronger.
“I believe as bad as the situation is, with God, all things are possible. I know that there is God. He will not forsake us. We have restrained our people so much and we will continue to restrain them. But I beg Nigerians to not let this continue. These are dangerous and serious times.
“I was reading a report from a priest in Borno of how churches have been destroyed. I wonder why the international community is not saying anything. Is this not human rights violation? We call on government, NEMA, NGOs, the international community. We need help. Our people are dying. Come and help us,” he pleaded.