by Isi Esene
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has expressed its displeasure over the manner which the United States of America treat the consistent attacks on Christians by insurgent elements who are bent on destabilizing the fragile relationship between Christians and Muslim in Nigeria.
The CAN position was made known in a letter by the president of the association, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor to the visiting US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
According to the Vanguard Newspapers, the letter dated the 7th of July and signed by the Secretary General of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake on behalf of Oritsejafor reads:
“Much to our dismay, the information contained in our memorandum to the presidential panel on Post-Election Violence was not included in the 2011 State Department International Religious Freedom Report. Our memo presented widespread incidents of violence targeting Christians in 12 northern states in April last year during the reporting period of the 2011 report.
“Unfortunately the destruction of over 700 churches and the systematic massacres of hundreds of Christians in 48 hours – the largest single attack on Christendom in contemporary world history anywhere on the planet-were not included in your report. Even more surprising, the report failed to accurately describe the horrific Christmas Day multi-city church attacks.
“These coordinated attacks on three states, comprising Niger, Plateau and Yobe, claimed over 60 lives and, for a second consecutive year, stunned the world. The report merely mentions the Christmas Day church bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic church in Madalla, then fails to communicate the scope and significance of the Christmas Day attacks.
“The pernicious persecution, denigration and dehumanisation of Christians in northern Nigeria especially has been a fact of life for over a quarter century. It is therefore disconcerting that the US report addresses it in a speculative tone that undermines the harsh reality of the masses of orphans and widows left behind.”
Observers believe that the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, directly and also through its affiliates, is pursuing a sinister violent agenda to induce outrage among Christians and precipitate reprisal attacks which it hopes will feed on itself and snowball into a crisis more difficult to contain.