Abuja, June 4, 2013
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor has read another divisive and inflammatory statement by Muhammadu Buhari, a retired General, former Head of State and Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC). The retired General was widely reported by several national newspaper Correspondents, who monitored the Liberty Radio programme “Guest of the week”, to have questioned the “special treatment” given to the Niger-Delta militants by the Federal Government while the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses destroyed by government. “They (the Niger-Delta militants) were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the north were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues. What brought this? It is injustice”, the former Head of State was quoted to have said.
“I cannot wish away the outburst of harshly critical statements, especially as some of them are directly related to the defense of the Boko Haram sect whose members have continued to kill, maim Christians and burn Churches. I feel the pain inflicted on Christians living in the north is too deep for us in CAN to ignore any unsavoury statement that tend to portray innocent Christians who have been killed by the sect members as the aggressors.
“It is shocking that at a time well-meaning Nigerians are praying for the success of our soldiers, Buhari, rather than reflect the mood of the nation in his statements and conducts is indulging in careless statements without regards for victims of the sect’s violence who are mostly Christians.
“I have, several times been vindicated that Boko Haram is not inspired by pecuniary motives, the latest of which is the statement by Robert Fowler, the released former United Nation’s envoy to Niger Republic who said in a BBC programme, “Hard Talk”, aired on Tuesday, 4th of June, 2013, that his captors never talked of poverty but islamisation of Africa. Spent and defeated politicians with outburst of temper and elders like Buhari who take delight in inflaming religious and ethnic passions should, therefore, be arrested and made to explain some of the issues raised by them. This is why I call for the arrest of Buhari now. Buhari is a big security risk to Nigeria’s cooperate existence.
“It is laughable that Buhari, an ex-Head of State, a General in the Nigerian Army who has served this country in different capacities would support Islamists who are confronting those in his constituency who are fighting to keep the nation from dismemberment. For Buhari who has led a Brigade of troops in 1982 to repel invading Chadian troops from the same north-eastern borders of Nigeria, the first major foreign invasion, to oppose a state of emergency when some parts of Borno and Yobe States had been occupied and the Nigerian flag replaced with theirs, burnt Churches, schools, government institutions, killed innocent Christians, attacked traditional rulers and others not sympathetic to their cause, speaks volume.
“The retired General’s sad commentary has not portrayed him as a national leader. As a retired General, he should have known that fights against terrorists are not mere child’s play. They are much more difficult than conventional war which he fought in 1982. If Buhari is a national leader, he should have been more concerned about the killings of innocent ones by the sect members and the success of the troops and not that of terrorists as he has been doing.
“Therefore, Buhari’s comments, coming at a time Nigerians have been quite appreciative of the bold steps taken by President Goodluck Jonathan to rid the north of Nigeria’s enemies can only mean that the retired General is a fanatic. He is, therefore, the prime leader of this religious and blood thirsty sect called Boko Haram, a movement that is based on a warped interpretation of a strict adherence to force people of other religions into Islam. This kind of fundamentalism is the driving force behind his failure of each election in the country.
“I intensely dislike to believe that Buhari is making these distasteful and unacceptable comments only as a way of escaping from the wrath of the sect members after their attack on his native Daura town. It is not enough to oppose positions that have been applauded by majority of Nigerians. Constructive criticism dictates that alternative solutions are given. Having explored all the windows of opportunity and commitments in its search for peace in the north-east, what I expect from Buhari is a suggestion as to the way forward and not comments that are divisive. Buhari should know that no injustice can justify the wanton destruction of Churches and the widespread massacre of innocent Christians. Why are Christians more of the victims of this orgy of terror unleashed by the Boko Haram sect?
“Buhari and others of that ilk should rather than exacerbating the problem at hand aim to convince the sect members of the wrongfulness of their islamisation plot. If the retired General is now crying out that the Boko Haram members are being killed, it can only mean that the boys he intended to use to spill the blood of monkeys and baboons on the land are being decimated by the gallant Special Forces.
For now, Buhari should be told that the time to grandstand for 2015 is not now. I, therefore, call on him and his fellow travelers to remember that we are all Nigerians, our religion and regional leanings notwithstanding.