The President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has described the purported plan by President Goodluck Jonathan to grant amnesty to members Boko Haram as sheer act of wickedness.
Oritsejafor, who said the pardon could be granted when members of the sect admit their wrongdoings, queried what would be the fate of the victims of the sect’s insurgencies, should its members be allowed to escape prosecution.
Oritsejafor made his stance known while addressing journalists at the 80th birthday ceremony of the President, Apostolic Church of Nigeria, Pastor Gabriel Oladele Olutola, in Lagos.
He said, “I don’t know his ambition for second term because I am not a politician; I am a pastor. But that (amnesty) would be wicked. I don’t see why he would have to do that and I don’t see why he would have to consider that because we are facing a very serious situation in Nigeria.
“Let us not turn this situation into politics. Let’s face it for what it is. The security of the people is the number one responsibility of the President. And I think at this point, Jonathan must wake up and just face it and do what he has to do. But these people who are putting pressure on him left and right, may God help them and deliver Nigeria from their hands. Nigeria I believe would be safe.”
Dismissing the claim that poverty was the cause of the insurgency, Oritsejafor queried where the sect got funds to acquire weapons and why it attacked churches and schools. He added that those who made the claim might have connections with the sect.
In the same vein, he argued that there was a difference between the Boko Haram sect and Niger Delta militants arguing that the latter fought for their neglect and survival.
“The reality is that you cannot equate those two instances. How many mosques were burnt in Warri or Port Harcourt? Can you tell me one? Young boys didn’t come on the streets to start shooting and killing people in the market. I’m from Warri, the Central Mosque is in the centre of our town. It has been there all these years. Nobody touched it.”
He said northern leaders should have emulated South-South leaders by identifying leaders of the sect and leading them to Jonathan to seek amnesty. He said the amnesty, if declared, would be like putting the cart before the horse.