The Northern section of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged the federal government and security agencies to take the latest threat against Christians by the Boko Haram terrorist group with all seriousness, to avert further destruction of lives and property.
The religious body also urged Christians all over the country to be vigilant, prayerful and to take the security of their environment very seriously.
The Northern CAN, covering the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in a reaction to recent threats by the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, maintained that Christians have always believed that the Islamic sect was out to wipe out Christianity and urged the Presidency and its security apparatus to buckle up before the sect and its sponsors plunge the country into chaos.
Reports said Shekau sent an email to some journalists, declaring that the sect was fighting President Jonathan and his Christian brethren, and that Nigerians should be under no illusion that the sect was not fighting a religious war.
“They try to brainwash the people that we are fighting an ethnic war. No, we are fighting a religious war, we are fighting Jonathan, we are fighting Christians”, Shekau was reported to have said in the email.
Reacting to the development however, spokesman of Northern CAN, Mr. Sunday Oibe said the Christian community in Nigeria has never been deceived from the fact that the issue of Boko Haram is a religious war against Christianity.
“We have been saying this loud and clear that Boko Haram is out to eliminate Christianity but some people, who want to play politics out of this, said Boko Haram is not a declaration of war against Christianity.
“Now what the Islamic group is saying is a confirmation of what we have always believed. But the question we want to ask is this: what has Christians done to them? We have tolerated them (Boko Haram) for a long time and we want to tell them that there is a limit to which we can tolerate the killing of Christians and the destruction of their property.
“We want to tell them that no country survives a religious war and they should not plunge this country into any of that”, Oibe said.
Speaking further, he noted, “the fact that Christians have tolerated all murderous and destructive activities of Boko Haram for too long do not mean they would be allowed to continue with their evil, inhuman and ungodly act.”
Oibe, who said the threat was a declaration of war against the Nigerian society, therefore called on the Presidency and the security agencies to take the threat very seriously.
He also appealed to Muslim leaders in the North to call the sect members to order and stop them from attacking Christians, adding that Christians were not the problem of the North.
“If it is the issue of poverty in the North, it is not the Christians that are responsible for that; it is the Northern Muslims that rule this country for many years that should be held responsible for the poverty in the North, not the Christians.
“In fact the Christians are the most disadvantaged people, particularly in the north. They deny us of things that will make life meaningful to us. Christians in the North are being marginalised and discriminated, so why is Boko Haram declaring war on Christians.
“We are using this opportunity to call on the international community to take this latest threat with all seriousness by cooperating with the Nigerian government to protect the lives and property of Christians and flush these people out of our society.
“We urged Christians in every community across the country to be very vigilant, to be prayerful and to take the security of their environment very, very seriously.
“This was how they issued their threats in the past and they carried out their attacks. The federal government and the security agencies and indeed well-meaning Nigerians must not allow Boko Haram, their agents and sponsors to succeed again in their evil deeds,” Oibe said.