BY CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA- The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Monday, confronted the Federal Government for taking too much time than necessary to stop serial killings of innocent Nigerians by the fundamentalist Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
CAN President, Pastor Ayodele Oritsejafor, told the government to stop foot-dragging and pampering the sect members and their sympathisers, if truly the government wanted to hold Nigeria as one.
At a briefing in Abuja, Oritsejafor warned that if the sect made good its recent threat on churches and innocent Nigerians, it might lead to the disintegration of the country.
He also called on Muslims to rise against the sect as a demonstration of love for one Nigeria.
He said: “This is why we call on the majority of peaceful Muslims to rise against the so-called Boko Haram in their midst as a demonstration of their love for one Nigeria.
“To the Federal Government, we say the time for action is now. Stop the foot-dragging and pampering of the sect members. This is the hour for courage,” he said.
The cleric was of the opinion that one might not be able to rule out option of national conference as one of the major ways to solve the country’s problem.
He said: “One of the solutions to this is let all nationalities come out and talk, call it any name you want, whether sovereign national conference or not.
“These bombings and killings of innocent Nigerians may be termed senseless but it is not without sense for the so-called Boko Haram sect, it is being done according to their plans. We believe that what Nigerians are confronting today is an evil ideology which has a purpose. The purpose is to exterminate Christians from Nigeria.
”We refuse to believe that this is a clash of interests and mode of worship. This is why we are alerting the Federal Government, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, leading political figures in Nigeria and, indeed, all stakeholders in the Nigerian project about the consequences of the latest by the so-called Boko Haram,” he added.
“But the greatest danger is that government has failed to confront the nature of the threat Nigerians are dealing with. What we have so far witnessed in the few months of the first threat is enough for CAN to warn that if the so-called Boko Haram makes good its latest threat, Nigeria may never be the one and united country that we know.
“Our concern is not just about the terrorist methods, but also their views. Our concern is not just their barbaric acts, but also their barbaric ideas.
“The death toll arising from the activities of the sect couple with what is becoming a routine threat to the lives of Christians has compounded the security challenges facing Nigeria.
“This is not, however, a problem for Christians alone, and what is at stake is the need for Christians in Nigeria to be free to practice their religion wherever they are. This should be a struggle by all Nigerians who believe in the Nigerian project, progress, pluralism, tolerance and freedom of worship.
“We will challenge leaders of Muslims community not to stop at the point of challenging and disowning them (Boko Haram), but identify ways of reaching them to end this, I know that there are sincere Muslims that love peace and we are working with them.”