Christian Association of Nigeria has restated its opposition to Federal Government’s dialogue with Boko Haram, criticising former Yobe State Governor Bukar Ibrahim for saying it is the only way to check the insurgent islamic sect.
CAN President Ayo Oritsejafor condemned the comments credited to Ibrahim, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, saying “it is reckless and shameful”.
Oritsejafor, in a statement by his Special Assistant (Media and Public Affairs), Mr. Kenny Ashaka, also said the comments were “irresponsible and insensitive and is capable of encouraging the increasingly violent and daring sect”.
The statement read in part, “It is hypocritical for Ibrahim to now make the country and her citizens to pay a heavy price for their ineptitude. In fact, apart from the extremist ideology of Boko Haram, I am tempted to believe that Ibrahim’s statement is also a confirmation that the increasing violence in the North is a sponsored revolt to pressure the Federal Government into making huge regional concessions.
“I am shocked that Ibrahim is not worried by the killings of Christians in his home state, Yobe, where five Christians, including their pastor, were killed on Christmas Day. A few days after these killings and burning of 20 houses, Ibrahim is only concerned with government’s dialogue with the sect. What a shameful act.
“Let me state that any dialogue that ignores the issue of compensation for the families of Christians killed and churches bombed or burnt, businesses destroyed, would be unacceptable to CAN.
“I believe that elders in the North, especially those in the North-East zone hold the key to the cessation of violence in the region and should begin to discuss how to end the unprovoked attacks on Christians and their churches.
“The Federal Government should, therefore, not succumb to blackmail from any quarters on account of the Boko Haram issue but should remain focused in dealing with the sect in accordance with the laws of the land.”
The CAN President described as “blackmail” Ibrahim’s suggestion that if the Federal Government dialogued with Boko Haram, the sect would limit itself to concessions made “when they have stated, clearly, that their aim is to do away with western education and enthrone Islamic Law.”
Oritsejafor added “If, today, the people are fighting biting poverty, inequality and injustice as Ibrahim would want us to believe, it is his likes that should be held responsible for being the source of their poverty.”