President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said that, but for the security measures to check Boko Haram, this year’s Christmas celebration would have been the bloodiest, going by the Islamist sect’s plans. This is even as a church disclosed that it lost 109 members and 50 branches to the group. Jonathan spoke of plans by Boko Haram to push the nation backwards and stop the government from providing the dividends of democracy.
“They would not succeed because 2013 will be a good year for Nigerians and Nigeria,”he said. The President noted that Christianity and Islam are religions of peace and tolerance which forbid killings and blood-letting. The President disclosed this at the Ekklisiyar Yaruwa a Nigeria, EYN, (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), Utako, Abuja, where he attended Sunday service. While re-assuring that his administration was working round-the-clock to address insecurity, Jonathan said that government will contain insecurity posed by the sect.
The President said that government will ensure that the activities of the Boko Haram did not push the nation backward as the strategic security plans put in place were already yielding positive results. According to him, the sect had intended to unleash deadly attacks on Christmas day, but the plans were aborted because of the effective strategic operations of the various security agencies. “The Boko Haram planned to carry out a lot of attacks on Christmas day, but we suppressed their plans during the Christmas, because the extent of their plans was not executed as a result of the strategies by the security agencies.
“Although, we still recorded some incidences, but the extent of attacks which they planned, was not allowed to be executed. Boko Haram will not push us backwards. If their plan is to stop government from providing the dividends of democracy, they would not succeed because 2013 will be a good year for Nigerians and Nigeria. With your persistent prayer, we shall defeat them,” he said. Jonathan noted that it was strange how terrorism and suicide bombings which were alien to the culture of any section of the country had crept in. He thanked the EYN nationwide for keeping faith and remaining calm even in the face of provocation.
Earlier, Senior Pastor of the church, Rev. Daniel Mbaya, said that about 50 of their churches had been burnt and 109 members killed in the North by Boko Haram. He said that EYN, predominantly in the North- East, was worse hit by the Boko Haram insurgence. The Senior Pastor thanked the President for worshipping with them, saying it was a demonstration that the country was blessed with a caring, loving and concerned leader. Mbaya also noted that Jonathan was the first sitting President to worship in any branch of the church since its inception.
In a sermon titled: “Walking with God” and taken from Genesis chapter 5, Verses 22 -24, the clergy dwelled on the benefits of putting God first in all human endeavours. According to him, any mortal being who walks with God by obeying His laws and instructions would have peace, everlasting joy and eternal rest. At the service were the President’s mother, Mrs Ayi Jonathan, his Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Oghiadome, Sen. Philip Aduda (PDP-FCT), Executive Secretary, Christians Pilgrims’ Board, John Kennedy-Opara and some presidential aides.