by Isi Esene
About five people were killed at a church in Peri, Yobe State. The church building was said to have been burned down and several other buildings in the area was also affected in the attack which happened on Christmas Eve.
The pastor of the church was also among the dead. Peri is near Potiskum, a popular town in Yobe.
A resident of the area, Usman Mansir, told reporters that “A group of gunmen came into the village at midnight and went straight to the church. They opened fire on them (the worshippers) and then set fire to the church.”
The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ayo Oritsejafor reacted to the news by condemning it and described it as “disturbing and barbaric.”
He reportedly said, “It is highly disturbing and very barbaric. It is archaic. It is totally against God and anything that has to with Him. You wonder how people will go through this extent in the name of God.
“Let us not continue to deny that there are jihadists, extremists and Islamists in this country; they are here. Let us agree that it is time for us to take certain steps to bring this madness to an end.”
He called on Muslims in the affected areas to co-operate with efforts aimed at putting a stop to the orgy of violence.
“Let me again say that I have high respect and regard for my Muslim friends and brothers. I’m not against Muslims. We need their help. We have been saying it and we will continue to say it: not only do we appeal to them to condemn it, we are asking that they must help us take this message to the grassroots.
“We (Christians) are not their enemies. The clerics that preach in the mosques, they should help us spread this news. With this goodwill, they will be able to flush out those people from among them.”
Oritsejafor also noted that it was not enough for the Northern leaders to condemn any act of violence whenever it occurred; but they must do everything to stop it.
The commissioner of police in Yobe State, Sanusi Rufa’i, refused to comment on the said attack calling it “a security issue.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.