I like this President of CAN jo! He believes in calling a spade a spade. Is anybody listening though?
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) through its President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Wednesday rejected the views expressed by the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr. Johnnie Carson, who blamed the poverty level in the north, as well as neglect as enabling elements for the violence perpetrated by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Carson Tuesday told the Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies that the Boko Haram issue has gotten further complicated with some government officials blaming the sect for all “bank robberies and local vendettas in the north when some are clearly the work of common criminals and political thugs.”
But CAN President in a statement signed by Kenny Ashaka, his Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, said the Boko Haram is a product of radical ideology and has absolutely nothing to do with the poverty and injustice in the north as claimed by Carson.
“We reject the reason being peddled by the American government and some Boko Haram apologists in the north that poverty and injustice is the spark for the sect members’ action.
“In the first place, the kind of arms and ammunitions in the hands of the sect can only be purchased by those with heavy financial power. A fair comparison of any other region with the north shows that the section of the north referred to by Carson has been the greatest beneficiary of the project called Nigeria. The north has been in leadership for the greater part of Nigeria’s golden jubilee and its greatest annoyance seems to be the displacement from this position because this same section of the region believes that they are “born to rule,” CAN said.
Over 1000 persons have been killed since the Boko Haram resurfaced in 2010 unleashing a wave of deadly attacks in northern Nigeria especially in its spiritual headquarters Maiduguri in Borno State.
An extract from the statement further said, “We urge the American government to always cross-check their facts before jumping into conclusions in matters concerning foreign countries they know little or nothing about.
“Adopting what is written for their officials who are outside their shores without verifying the truth would do America no good. We would implore the American government officials, if they believe in fairness to arrive Nigeria and undertake an impartial assessment of the situation in Nigeria. We wonder if churches and Christians alone are the cause of the poverty Mr. Carson talked about. How have churches contributed to the injustice in the north?
“We state emphatically that Boko Haram is a product of extreme religious ideology. This is so because there is no explanation for Osama Bin Laden and Mutallab of Nigeria to become a terrorist since they are both of rich background. The American government must, therefore, call Boko Haram what they are- terrorists.
In a related development, the President of CAN has commended the Federal Government for the appreciable level of success recorded in its attempts to rid the country of religious extremists like the Boko Haram sect but believes that there is still more to be done.
“When the London riots took place in Britain, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron cut short his holiday and returned to his country. His speech on arrival left no one in doubt that he is in charge. He gave a stern warning which was followed immediately and in just a few hours the offenders were apprehended and the streets were sparkling clean,” Oritsejafor said, while tasking President Goodluck Jonathan to “stamp his feet on the ground against this cancer of Boko Haram.”
“Coming on the heels of the violent attack on Kaduna during the Easter celebration, Potiskum in Yobe State and Dikwa in Borno State, the signs are ominous for a secular state like Nigeria.
“Again, the President of CAN called on the president not to pamper these death merchants in order to maintain the secular nature of Nigeria devoid of any manifest religious sentiments,” he added.
Meanwhile, Oritsejafor, on behalf of the Christians in the country, has condoled with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the Kaduna, Kano, Borno and Yobe attacks during the Easter celebration.
“He prays that God will fight for the unarmed and appealed to those behind the dastardly act to see reasons and stop the attacks in the interest of the unity of the country,” another statement from CAN said.
Pastor Oritsejafor noted that what should be paramount in the minds of every Nigerian is the unity of the country and that what those who attacked the four cities have done was evil.
Appealing to those responsible for the attacks to have respect for the sanctity of human lives, the President of CAN remarked that it is unfortunate that while people are striving to attune themselves to the rejuvenation of their spiritual lives, death merchants lurked around, killing innocent citizens.
He also commiserated with the families of the 22 parishioners of St. Robert’s Catholic Church, Adamgbe, near Vandeikya who died when their church collapsed in Benue State.
He also lamented the death of Christian worshippers who died when the walls of the retreat camp at the Deeper Life Bible Church, Eyenke, Kwara State collapsed.