CAN, PFN GIVE JONATHAN MARCHING ORDER
CAN, PFN give Jonathan marching order
From Mariam Aleshinloye Agboola, Jos
Monday, March 15, 2010
Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has been charged to ensure that the sponsors of recent sectarian violence in Jos are revealed and prosecuted.
National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, (PFN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the North Central Zonal Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Yakubu Pam, who made the call in separate interviews, however, expressed gratitude when the security forces told the world that some persons arrested in connection with the heinous killings have confessed that they were sponsored by certain individuals. They said that the truth is eventually coming out.
Rev. Pam, therefore, urged the nation's security authorities not to stop at that confession, but rather go after the alleged sponsors of these militants with a view to ensuring an enduring peace in Plateau State.
'Let the boys who are currently in custody tell us who sponsored them. That is the only way the nation can guard against future occurrence,' the cleric, who was tongue lashed by then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 over the same Jos crisis, maintained.
Pam stressed that it is time to arrest this culture of impunity, insisting that Nigeria which has been fighting a credibility war in the comity of nations, has inadvertently brought itself to public ridicule by these incessant violent ethno-religious crises. On his part, Pastor Oritsejafor reiterated his earlier call on the 17 southern governors to urgently engage their 19 northern counterparts in a dialogue with a view to finding a lasting solution to the perennial killing of innocent Christians in the North, emphasising that human life must be seen to be sacred.
The PFN helmsman disagreed with persons who had described the violent riots in the north as anything but religious, arguing that the bane of the nation's underdevelopment was because 'we all tend to cover the truth at all times.'
According to him, Nigeria is a country of several nationalities brought together by God but they are not united because individual members of the nationalities cover the truth always. 'Only the truth can unite the people and build a strong nation out of us.
'Why are people saying that the incessant killing of innocent persons in the north are not religious? Let me tell categorically it is religious. Anyone who says it is not must first endeavour to answer the following questions: If the crisis is political as they claim, why is it that political offices and flags are not burnt in over a decade of hostilities? If it is ethnic, how many traditional rulers' palaces have been torched since the crisis?'
He also debunked the claim that the recent killing of over 500 women and children in their sleep was a revenge mission, saying that it was another premeditated attempt by certain individuals who are acting a script apparently to annihilate the Christian folk and impose a particular religion.
Oritsejafor, therefore, proposed a five-point solution to the crises, saying that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, currently being canvassed by some eminent Nigerians, would only work if every Nigerian is prepared to tell the truth. According to him, the federal and Plateau State governments and the politicians from the state must muster the political will to deal with the sponsors of the mindless killings of innocent persons. The government must also investigate how the killers managed to beat a curfew that was put in place after the January crisis.
Oritsejafor also questioned the nation's intelligence gathering mechanism, pointing out that it was disheartening to hear that the state governor and the traditional ruler of Jos, who had information about the attack, contacted the appropriate security authorities but still the fundamentalists managed to operate.
He also called on the National Assembly to rise above primordial sentiments, to enact anti-terrorist laws as Nigeria is fast gravitating towards a terrorist nation.
According to him, most of the persons being slaughtered are Christians from the south, adding that it is not enough for southern governors to always send buses to evacuate their citizens whenever there is a crisis. He said there are mosques and Muslims in the south who are being protected daily but 'our citizens daily live in fear in every parts of the north.'
The maverick preacher enjoined Christians in the north to always defend themselves whenever they come under attack, maintaining that it does not make any sense for them to watch godless persons killing their wives and children if they can protect themselves.