Al-Mustapha Takes Peace-building Message To Oritsejafor, Ponders Over Boko Haram Insurgency

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 24, (THEWILL) - Major Hamza al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, on Monday took his message of peaceful co-existence among Nigerians to  Warri, Delta State, as he paid a courtesy visit on the National President of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), Archbishop  Ayo Oritsejafor.

Al-Mustapha, who is believed to have authorised the killing of several pro-democracy activists, including Kudirat Abiola during the reign of Abacha, now runs a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Peace, Unity and Development Initiative (APUDI).

He expressed concern over what he described as the ploy by some elders statesmen and leaders to cause 'war' and 'disunity' in the country.

Speaking after a private meeting with Oritsejafor at the Word of Life Bible Church in Warri, Al-Mustapha lamented that  some leaders were working against the peace and unity of the country.

Both Al-Mustapha and the CAN leader, according to sources, also discussed ways of finding a lasting solution to the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northern part of the country.

Advising  Nigerians to explore ways of ending the insurgency, Al Mustapha warned that  if the Boko Haram insurgency is not contained now, it could lead to a crisis similar to that in  Egypt and other Arab countries during the Arab Springs.

He maintained that  it is better to talk peace now than let the crisis escalate beyond control.

Addressing Oritsejafor at the meeting, Al Mustapha said, "Ours is to preach peace and meet those that matter  such as you to give your entire weight to it.

Talking about faith, every single individual believes in  one even though there is no compulsion in religion, it is certain that faith is a driving force.

' In his response,  Oritsejafor called  for a truce committee where various leaders of religious groups would meet to proffer solution to the problems in various parts of the country.

The CAN President  blamed the nation's leaders for not doing enough to use their influence to positively draw their supporters in the area of peace.

He however stressed that Nigeria   must remain united despite individual, religious and cultural differences even as he noted that reaching out to the  Boko Haram insurgents is the only solution to the crisis.

Maintaining that there would be no peace without justice, Oritsejafor stressed that justice is what bridges the gap between peace and unity.

According to the CAN leader,  instead of Nigerians to concentrate their energy on working to destablise the country, they should be busy working for better ways of building on the unity among the people.

He maintained that Muslims and Christians can peacefully live together if there is mutual respect for each other's religion.

"It is wrong for anyone to think of the disintegration of this country, I don't think we should put our differences outside, our differences made Nigeria what it is today.

"We should celebrate our differences.
We should work with our differences and we should let our differences unique in the world.

We all have things that can enhance this country.
'I have listened to all you have to say, you talked about peace and unity but I will add justice.

Because when you talk about peace, without justice there would be no peace.

"When you talk about unity without justice there would be no unity.

Justice is the bridge between peace and unity.
Justice is one crucial issue we must look at,' Oritsejafor told Al- Mustapha.

He however berated Nigerian elite for pretending over the problems in the country, saying most of the elite  have failed to use their power to reach out to the insurgents.

He said until the leaders reach out to some of the insurgents, the peace process would fail.

He stressed  that like the militancy in the Niger Delta,  which he said was economically driven, leaders from the region reached out to the militants and talked with them to end the crisis.

'There must be a way of reaching out to these displaced persons.

Look at what is happening in Borno State, it is happening to both Christians and Muslims.

Just coming out to condemn them, there must be practical ways of reaching out to some of these persons that we understand your feelings,' Oritsejafor said.

Explaining that most of the victims of the insurgency in the North are Christians, he however commended Al-Mustapha and members of the delegation for the peace-building effort, saying he (Oritsejafor) had been misunderstood many times for fighting for Christians but promised not to be  deterred.