The Christian Association of Nigeria on Thursday said the continuous killings and other terrorist activities by the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the northern part of the country amounted to genocide against Christians.
According to the association, the situation in Kano, Yobe, Borno, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Katsina States has assumed the worst dimension, with governments in the states demonstrating anti-Christian postures in recent years.
It said, “Apart from banning the teaching of Christian Religion Knowledge in schools, in the past 13 years, some of these governments have refused to grant new building permits to churches or given approval for the renovation or expansion of churches.”
The association however insisted that “the North is not at war, contrary to what is being portrayed in some quarters”.
The General Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, who stated this at a press briefing in Abuja, also said recent clashes between tribal groups in Nasarawa and Plateau states had assumed a religious dimension.
According to him, killings continue unabated in some parts of the North because “there is no prosecution of those who go out to kill.”
The body, therefore, renewed the call for the Federal Government to start the immediate prosecution of identified sponsors and members of the Boko Haram sect.
The news conference was in reaction to Boko Haram sect’s recent onslaught on Christians in parts of the North. He said that the call became necessary following the recent revelations after the arrest of some members of the sect in Lagos.
Asake urged the Federal Government to adopt strategies to permanently end the spate of attacks on innocent Nigerians in parts of the North.
He said, “The assertion in some quarters that the North is at war does not represent the reality on ground, from our records; it is innocent people that are being killed in the North by a gang of armed youths.
“The state of our nation calls for concern and so is the state of Christendom, the situation demands urgent action. We are calling on the Federal Government to start prosecuting those who have been identified as sponsors and top ranking members of the Boko Haram sect, we want the whole world to know that we are getting tired.”
Asake said CAN was disappointed in the government’s failure to have prosecuted those alleged to be sponsors of the insurgents in the North. He said that government should make efforts to regain the confidence of the people that it could protect their lives and property.
“Government must acquire a reputation for being taken seriously on this matter by the populace. “It must also acquire the spine to prosecute any member of the sect already in government’s net as doing otherwise will make most Nigerians believe that some classes of Nigerians are untouchable,’’ he added.
Asake said security agencies should also step up the hunt for the men behind the terror that had turned parts of the North into theatres of war.
He said CAN was opposed to the idea of amnesty for members of the sect, and called on Islamic leaders to support government and CAN in the campaign for peace in the North.
Asake urged the executive and the legislative arms of government to work in unison to strengthen legislations on immigration to checkmate the menace of illegal migrants into the country.