Warns Nigeria May Disintegrate
THE Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, and Archbishop, Metropolitan, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Executive Council to take a decisive action against the Boko Haram Islamic sect or risk an ethno-religious crisis capable of causing an unexpected disintegration of the country.
He gave the word of caution yesterday in Awka at the opening of the ongoing meeting of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria at St Faith Cathedral Church, Awka.
The Primate said the bombings, killings and multiple physical and psychological assaults on citizens, especially Christians, by the group were akin to the ugly events leading to the 30-month (1967-1970) Nigerian Civil War. .
He, therefore, called for a holistic Federal Government effort at stamping out the ugly acts of the group, noting that one of the quickest means of tackling the group is for them and their sponsors to have a rethink and ponder on the enormity of the calamity they have already visited on the citizens.
“We call on Boko Haram, their sponsors and admirers to have a rethink; in fact, all of us have a lot to lose in the event of a break up of the country, if pushed too hard,” the Primate said.
The Archbishop used the occasion to remember the efforts and good works of the late publisher of The Guardian newspapers, Dr Alex Ibru, whom he described as “a great man, a selfless man dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, who believed in achieving an impeccable standard in all his dealings.”
“We remember him, we pray for his wife, Mrs. Maiden Alex Ibru and their children for God’s protection and sustenance. We pray for the Foundation and the Guardian Newspapers that they may continue to make progress as good legacies of this great man…,” he stressed.
Appraising last year’s Christmas Day bombing of St Theresa Church in Madalla, Niger State and other such attacks on Christians in Borno, Yobe, Gombe and Adamawa States, the Primate noted that a situation where Christians were brazenly killed and their properties looted was no longer acceptable.
He described the unity of Nigeria as non-negotiable, but that it must stand on the attributes of justice, mutual accommodation of one another, equality, tolerance, as wall as security of lives and property.
He encouraged Christians to be prepared always to defend themselves, instead of running away from the enemy, and to stop running from place to place.
Okoh admonished all Diocesan Boards, Archdeaconry Boards, Parish Councils and Church Committees to provide a robust security arrangement for worshippers.
Despite measures already in place, he charged the federal and state governments to intensify efforts to maintain security of lives and properties in the country and thanked the Anambra State government for making their stay and meeting in Awka, a success.
He prayed for the nation and the President and for God to help the country’s leaders in all right moves.