A damaged church
By John Shiklam
The Christian Elders Forum of Northern States (NOSCEF) has questioned the rationale behind the plans to grant amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect, which have killed about 4,000 people, destroyed churches and ruined many businesses.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday at the Tarayyar Ekklisiyar Krista a Nigeria (TEKAN) Church Kaduna, the chairman of NOSCEF, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, lamented that rather coming to the aid of Nigerians who have been destroyed by the sect; the government was planning to appease them when ordinarily they should be treated as criminals.
According to him, “over 1,000 Christian businesses have been ruined by the dreaded Islamic group, while 77 churches belonging to TEKAN and the Evangelical Church of Christ Winning All (ECWA) closed down either because they were destroyed or were no longer safe to worship there.”
“If somebody went to the church and throw bomb and killed people and destroy businesses and you are taking care of the man that did the damage without first taking care of the people that have been damaged then something is wrong with our sense of reasoning.
“If they are doing all these things because of politics in 2015, then when the time comes, we will know those that we would support” Owojaiye said while answering questions during the briefing.”
He called on the federal government to stop the monthly allocations to Boko Haram prone states until the government of such states tackle the insurgency as a deliberate way of ensuring that those perpetrating the evil act are exposed.
He added that Christians were opposed to the planned amnesty and demanded for the establishment of Northern Minority Commission (NMC) to be headed by a minister that would be responsible for the plight of northern Christians.
He also accused the northern elite of intimidating the federal government to grant the amnesty, describing the move as hypocritical and unpatriotic.
He stressed that the northern Muslim elite were responsible for the underdevelopment of the North.
“Who underdeveloped the Muslim North? It is definitely not the Jonathan government, neither the Christians in the North! It is the northern Muslim elite that impoverished the northern Muslim youths.
“The northern Muslim elite pocketed the largess that came to the North. Only they and their families benefitted. They turned the attention of Boko Haram to the innocent Christians in the North.
“It is even more annoying that instead of the northern Muslim elite to release 50 per cent of their wealth to solve the poverty problem of the Muslims North they are crying and putting pressures and intimidating the federal government to set up a Boko Haram commission.
“Contemplating granting amnesty to the people who have wrought wanton destruction of lives and property in this nation is a call to other interest groups to rise up in arms against their fatherland, in order to be blessed when such an action should be treated as treason! Till date the killing continues!
“Intimidating the federal government to grant amnesty is the highest display of hypocrisy and lack of patriotism. Are such people not indirectly admitting that they are the shadows or ghosts behind the Boko Haram?
“Let all who collude or sponsor Boko Haram or refuse to come to the help of Christians for political or economical reasons know that heaven is watching and nobody will go free! The blood of the Christian martyrs is crying to heaven for justice.
“We totally object to Paul Unongo and his friends speaking on behalf of the Christians challenging the authority of CAN President. The Christians in Nigeria know their leaders. Definitely their teams are not among our leaders,” Owojaiye said.