Jos Bombings: Sultan, Oritsejafor Say Politicians Are Masterminds
LAGOS, Dec 28, (THEWILL) - The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor today said some political actors in the country were the masterminds of the bomb blasts that rocked the conflict-ridden capital city of Jos, Plateau State, on the eve of Christmas.
A terrorist group, Jama'atu ahlus-Sunnah Lidda'awati wal Jihad, operating in Northern Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for the blasts as well as attacks in some parts of Borno State, which claimed 32 lives. The blasts led to reprisal attacks in Anguwan Rukuba, Tina Junction, Nasarawa, Dutse Uku and Rikkos Quarters.
The religious leaders, who refused to mention the masterminds of the bomb blasts, expressed the position at a news conference they both addressed at Protea Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos. The conference was organised by the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC), which both Abubakar and Oritsejafor co-chair.
Speaking at the conference, the monarch said he was armed with substantive evidence to back up his claim, saying the bombings were political and pointed to an advertorial in a national daily where a group of political actors have been accused of masterminding the violence.
“It is political, and I mean it. It is wicked and cruel for few political actors to destroy other peoples’ lives in their pursuit of selfish objectives. Why should they kill to achieve their goals? the Sultan asked. The monarch declined to mention names of suspects in the crisis but appealed to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan “to expedite action on suggestions made to him during a recent NIREC meeting on how to find lasting peace and promptly proffer solution to the crisis rocking Jos and Maiduguri."
He said the crisis in the North “is being masterminded by few disgruntled elements whose ultimate drive is to create confusion. The Federal Government should punish perpetrators of these heinous crimes, remarking that violence persists in the country because perpetrators always go unpunished.
“We have come together to ensure peace. Government must fish them out and deal with them whoever they are. If the government can be punishing people who do this thing, there will be a change. We must say the truth if we must get to the root of our problems in this country,” he said.
Speaking at the conference, Oritsejafor, who is the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), further explained that the Jos bombing “was both political and religious. Some politicians exploit the weak points of the unsuspecting masses to perpetrate dastardly acts in order to suit their selfish interests.” Oritsejafor said the masterminds of the bomb blasts executed their plot due to the fact that they never wanted the country to be “established on a solid foundation and hence do all they can to make the country ungovernable. Punishing perpetrators of violence is the only act that can offer a lasting solution to this menace.
“What happened in Jos was definitely political but it has a strong dose of religious colouration. I believe that politicians know the weaknesses of our people. They know how to manipulate their beliefs and they know the part of the country where people react easily. Look at what happened in Maiduguri.
“A pastor was killed, churches were burnt and the gateman who resisted was killed. There are people who don’t want this country to stand firm as a nation. There are politicians who don’t want elections. They want to make Nigeria ungovernable, to complicate issues in this nation. It is true that lives were lost; women were made widows and children made orphans.
“We are saying that the solution is not violence. When anybody kills, he has committed a crime. It is because people are not brought to book that this problem keeps occurring. We are asking our government to send experts and go and fish out people who are involved and bring them to justice. The moment somebody is jailed, you will begin to see a decline. You don’t take another person’s life and go free. You don’t burn worship places and properties and go free,” the CAN chairman said.
Oritsejafor blamed security agents for failing to gather intelligence report on the bombs despite that they got information about the recent violence in Maiduguri and Jos. He said security agents had failed to do their job by investigating the information at their disposal with a view to averting the crises.
Oritsejafor urged the federal government to increase the presence of security agents in Plateau State.