by Rachel Ogbu
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, said declaring amnesty for Boko Haram will be an act of wickedness.
He said a rational situation should be when Boko Haram members come out and acknowledged their offenses.
Oritsejafor questioned the fate of the victims of the sect’s insurgencies after Boko Haram is allowed to escape prosecution.
Oritsejafor speaking at the 80th birthday ceremony of the President, Apostolic Church of Nigeria, Pastor Gabriel Oladele Olutola, in Lagos, the CAN president 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.”
The former first lady, Turai Yar’Adua had earlier urged President Jonathan to pardon members of Boko Haram just as her husband, Musa Yar’Adua had done with the Niger Delta militants, granting them amnesty.
But Oritsejafor argued that the insurgency should not be compared to Niger Delta militancy. According to him, the Niger Delta militants fought for their neglect and survival. He added that their leaders came to the public to make their complaints known.
“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.”
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He said the claim that poverty was the cause of the insurgency was not true. He 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.
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.
The CAN boss carpeted Sheikh Abubakar Gumi over his Facebook comment on Jesus Christ. He called on the government to call the Islamic scholar and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai, to order over their alleged incitements.
Gumi had reportedly said in the post that Jesus did not die after his crucifixion but only went into coma.