By Sam Eyoboka
AS the nation awaits the report of the Maj.-Gen. Sarki Mukhtar fact-finding panel set up by President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to probe the remote causes of the recent Boko Haram crisis in parts of the North, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) is holding an interdenominational service in honour of all those who lost their lives in the mayhem.
The service which is being packaged by PFN for September 11, will serve to honour all the victims of the mayhem including the security personnel and draw attention to the dangers of religious intolerance in a secular state like Nigeria but more especially, present gifts to the bereaved families.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos yesterday, at his church office, the PFN National Secretary-General, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, who stood in for the National President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, said the programme will hold simultaneously at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja and in London.
Adefarasin, who was flanked by a consultant to PFN, Rev. Ladi Thompson, Pastor Wale Akinola, Pastor Enoch Atiyaye and one of the lucky survivors of the Boko Haram crisis, Elder Emmanuel Ndah, said the theme of the programme was inspired by the parting words of the slain Pastor George Orji who was slaughtered on the alleged orders of the late sect leader, Muhammed Yussuf.
According to him, the late Pastor Orjiâ€™s last wish to the nation and his pregnant wife, was; â€˜Tell my people I died well.â€™
In the words of the PFN scribe, the umbrella body of Pentecostalism in the country hopes to reawaken the spirit of Boko Haram which has been overshadowed by the uproar on the banking sector, saying that 90 per cent of Boko Haram are still active.
â€œViolence is never a solution to violence,â€ he added, stressing: â€œWe believe in peaceful resolution of perceived grievances but our national president has been forced to call on Christians in the North to rise and defend themselves whenever they come under attack.â€
Adefarasin, however, added that this was not a call to violence, â€œas violence or retaliation totally negates the very essence of the Christian faith.â€
He maintained that, at least, 20 churches and 14 vehicles were burnt while 12 Christians including three pastors, were killed in Maiduguri alone.
The General Overseer of Guiding Light Assembly, Lagos gave the names of the pastors as Pastor Sabo Yakubu of Church of Christ in Nigeria, COCIN, Rev, Sylvester Akpan of National Evangelical Mission, and Rev. George Orji of Good News of Christ Church.
Also speaking at the occasion, the PFN representative from Maiduguri, Rev. Enoch Atiyaye of Hospital Chapel, UMTH, said contrary to reports that the religious sect was targeting security installations, â€œPolice was not the original target of Boko Haram.â€
Rather, he said, findings have revealed that the people invented that coloration in order to camouflage their intention of attempting to Islamise the nation by creating fear in everybody and forcing Christians to abandon the faith for Islam.
This claim was corroborated by Elder Emmanuel Ndah, an indigene of Kogi State who had resided in Borno State for over 15 years but now dreads to go back there to attend to his pharmaceutical business for fear of being attacked.
Ndah who was arrested with Rev. Orji by two Boko Haram operatives in the Low Cost area of Maiduguri narrated how he narrowly escaped death by the whiskers.