AGAINST the backdrop of moves by the Federal Government to dialogue with the Boko Haram sect, the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has faulted the proposed talks.
The Christian leader, who spoke yesterday at the 46th yearly convention of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria, otherwise known as Hadaddiyar Ekklisiyar Krista A Nigeria (HEKAN), in Kaduna, remarked: “I don’t think any sensible government whether the president is a Muslim or a Christian will want to sit down and discuss such thing, because it is the greatest instrument of disunity that this country will ever experience”.
According to him, part of what the Boko Haram was demanding and which may be impossible is the Islamisation of the country.
The cleric queried: “Will you discuss with somebody who is saying Nigeria must become a Muslim or an Islamic nation?”
Oritsejafor, who was the guest preacher at the occasion, added: “I don’t think any sensible government whether the president is a Muslim or a Christian will want to sit down and discuss such thing because it is the greatest instrument of disunity that this country will ever experience; how do you discuss that? So, I don’t see any bases for such discussion in the first place”.
He also disclosed that “there are about 26 different groups, Jihadists and Islamists; there are different groups, it is you the media that grouped them together and called it Boko Haram.
“So, I don’t even know who they are, but my point is this, it depends on what you are trying to negotiate or dialogue with them”.
Rather than a discussion with Boko Haram, the CAN President however, called for dialogue among the different religious groups in the country for better understanding among themselves.
He said: “We must begin to come together and speak as one. There are Muslims who are wonderful good people, we are reaching out to them, we are looking for them, let them join with us, let’s work together, let’s speak the same voice, let’s not attack each other, let’s not go against each other”.
Oritsejafor stressed: “When you see Christians coming out talking strong, it is the pains. Look, let’s be honest, they are people who are suffering most in this insecurity thing. Let’s be very honest with ourselves and that is why you see them talking and expressing themselves because of the pains they feel. It is not because they don’t love one Nigeria.
“I believe we must work together. We are willing but I believe in progressive dialogue; where we sit down and set bench marks; we set goals; we want to achieve peaceful co-existence through our dialogue and through that we can begin to achieve something. I think it will work well for us if we do that. Then, all Nigerians must expose evil doers in our midst; we must not allow them to hide, we must expose them.”
He continued: “If we are vigilant enough, we will identify these people, expose them, let them be taken out. We should not be afraid, God will keep you but we must expose them, not as Christians but as Nigerians.”