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Two frontline Christian clerics, Ayo Oritsejafor and W. F. Kumuyi have charged the Federal Government to urgently muster the political will to fish out the masterminds of the attack. President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Oritsejafor who spoke yesterday at the end of the 2010 Poverty Alleviation Programme of the Word of Life Bible Church, Warri, described the perpetrators of the heinous Christmas Eve multiple bombing as agents of terrorism bent on destabilising the nation.

The fiery preacher who is also the national leader of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) said he was pained that certain individuals could deliberately attempt to truncate the peace that was beginning to evolve in Jos after a spate of violent crises.

'I must tell you that that was the worst devastation that I have heard since the beginning of the year, especially knowing that people could detonate bombs in Jos on the eve of Christmas. It was as incredible as it was shocking and that is why I will like to call on the Federal Government to urgently arrest the brains behind the act of terrorism,' he said.

Similarly, Pastor Kumuyi, General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, said the incident was an unfortunate commentary on the ability of government to stem the tide of fanaticism and unbridled religious convictions.

According to him, a situation in which intra-sect feuds easily led to the burning of churches and needless killings of church ministers and innocent citizens was an abhorrent trend, which must not be allowed to continue.

Addressing journalists at the Deeper Life Conference Centre, Mowe, Ogun State, the cleric said the perpetrators of such acts must not only be apprehended but must be visited with the full weight of the law promptly, adding that the initiative rested on the doorsteps of the security agencies to bring this unfortunate trend to an end.

His words: 'The repeated flare-ups of such crisis is an unfortunate commentary on the ability of government to stem the tide of fanaticism and unbridled religious convictions. Perpetrators of such acts must not only be apprehended, they must be seen to be visited with the full weight of the law promptly.'

Kumuyi decried the state of the nation saying it was a mixed-bag of successes and drawbacks. 'Clearly, our country could have progressed more than we are witnessing but for lapses on the part of everyone. Ours is a nation of manifold human and material resources, but the repeated failure to harness these resources harmoniously for our collective good, has served to hinder our march to progress in every facet,' he stated.

He observed that whichever way one looked at every sector, be it education, health, transportation, energy and so on, they people were yet to fully mobilise the latent potentials, which were begging to be exploited for the collective good and this, according to him, was the long-standing challenge facing the people as a nation.

Oritsejafor who described the twin violent uprisings in Jos and Maiduguri, Borno State, as both political and religious, warned that if the government did not swiftly and decisively arrest the growing trend of terrorism in parts of the North, there might be greater devastation.

He said it was obvious that the blasts were the evil machinations of certain powerful and influential individuals in the society who were determined to truncate the current political transition if they could not get their hearts' desires.

Oritsejafor called on the
Christian community to remain calm while he was still making efforts to reach President Jonathan on how best to deal with the matter and assuage the victims of the bomb blasts by way of adequate compensation.

He alleged that certain powerful individuals in the society hadperfected plans to destabilise the nation's polity by provoking the Christian community to reaction and cause chaos and in the aftermath of the chaos make the country ungovernable.

Oritsejafor, therefore, implored the Federal Government to take decisive steps to tame the growing trend before few disgruntled elements plunged the country into a theatre of another war, warning that no nation had ever survived two civil wars.

'We can no longer allow this group of disgruntled elements to get away with these acts of terrorism in Nigeria,' he said, stressing the need for the Federal Government to urgently begin a process of training the nation's security outfits on how to combat terrorism.

He reiterated his appeal to the Christian community in the country to stay calm to avoid playing into the hands of people who were out to destabilise the nation for their

selfish designs.
He disclosed that there were earlier security reports that were not promptly acted upon and hence scores of Nigerians were sent to their untimely death and denied the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

He maintained that Christmas reminded Christians of 'the

birth of hope, the birth of peace and the birth of true reconciliation.'

Oritsejafor also used the occasion to urge the Christian

community, who he said, were desirous of free and fair

elections next year, to actively participate in the entire process.

The CAN president said Christians must come out to register during the voters registration exercise, noting that they must select credible candidates who had impeccable pedigree and after voting for such persons they should stay to defend their votes.

On the 2011 elections, Kumuyi said, 'it is ennobling that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has resolved to deliver a process that will be both credible and fair. It behoves all Nigerians to fully cooperate with the agency so that we can once and for all abandon the spectre of electoral manipulations and the attendant consequences on the socio-political and economic outlook.

'Our politicians must know that Nigeria is a resilient and unique country, which has weathered successfully the severest of storms. They must also learn from history that those who abort the popular will have always stood on the wrong side of history and ultimately lose out in the process. Let us, therefore, learn from history and with the fear of God, position this nation where it ought to be as a respected member in the comity of nations.'

He, therefore, appealed to the leaders to seriously consider the defined interest of the nation and place it beyond the restricted confines of self-interest. This, he said, had become even more imperative as Nigerians prepare for the elections of next year with the attendant tension and stress being engendered.

'If the striving for leadership position is all about service to God and to humanity, then the acrimony and sometimes intemperate language being used by political actors must be substantially toned down. This negative trend is raising the political temperature of the country unnecessarily when democracy, as we know it, is all about popular participation, transparency, openness and liberty. Whatever detracts from these ennobling concept is counter-productive and must be avoided,' he advised.

He further appealed to the political actors at all levels to employ a more elegant and elevated language of discourse during political campaigns.

'What the nation does not need for now is an over-heated climate that could further compromise an already tenuous fabric. The focus should be on concrete, measurable, verifiable and achievable programmes that will justify the huge resources with which our country is endowed. I believe those aspiring for political offices must discuss issue-oriented and people-centred policies and programmes as against sabre-rattling and name-calling which are clearly counter- productive.'

He stated that the examples of some sister countries here in the West African sub-region, which successfully underwent a relatively stress-free political campaigns and elections should serve as a beacon to Nigerians that they could also repeat the same feat with same grit and determination.

The cleric also noted that political parties themselves had decided to raise the bar of prerequisites of those aspiring to contest for offices as those who wished to govern the people must possess the highest moral and intellectual credentials, which would spur them to emphasise service to the nation over and above pecuniary and parochial considerations.

'As we stand on the threshold of a new year, there is need for us as individuals and collectively to take an introspective look at the conduct of our lives thus far and consider the amendments we must undertake to make our lives worthy of God's endowments. It should not take anyone time to recognise the need for more of God in our lives, even as we strive to overcome by His grace, those things, which serve to draw us apart from Him. If we are thinking of making a success of our earthly sojourn, it is of utmost importance that ·we submit to the majesty of God's counsel,' he added.