By UDUMA KALU
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor yesterday called on the United States to declare the Islamist sect, Boko Haram as a terrorist group.
However, in the US, officials said violence will come to an end if the Federal Government eradicates poor governance, addresses security challenges, and end police and military abuses with impunity.
While making an appeal to the US Congress, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said decision to blacklist three Boko Haram leaders as terrorists was not enough.
Ayo Oritsejafor said the US move on June 21 was “the equivalent of designating (Osama) bin Laden a terrorist but failing to designate Al-Qaeda a terrorist organisation,” and the reluctance to brand Boko Haram as terrorists had emboldened the group, which is estimated to have killed more than 1,000 people since mid-2009 in attacks on Christian and government sites.
“By refusing to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organisation, the United States is sending a very clear message, not just to the Federal Government, but to the world that the murder of innocent Christians and Muslims who reject Islamism — and I make a clear distinction here between Islam and Islamism — are acceptable losses,” Oritsejafor said.
“It is hypocritical for the United States and the international community to say that they believe in freedom and equality when their actions do not support those who are being persecuted,” he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.