BOKO HARAM: NIGERIANS WANT TO KNOW THEM - ONAIYEKAN
The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, has asked the Federal Government to unmask the Boko Haram sect, saying Nigerians want to know who they are.
The immediate past president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had while commenting on the security challenge in the country in an interview with Daily Sun in Abuja, noted that the issue of Boko Haram was very difficult to comment on.
He said in spite of the security challenge the sect had brought on the nation, it would not in anyway lead to the disintegration of the country.
Onaiyekan said, 'up till now, he is not aware that we didn't know who they are,' saying, 'if they know, why are they not telling us who they are. The issue of Boko Haram concerns all of us and I don't think it is right to treat it as a secret matter. It is security but security doesn't mean secret. And if indeed they are becoming a big political force that are calling for dialogue, we want to know who they are,' Onaiyekan said.
Onaiyekan added that by shielding the sect by considering them as a secret company would not take Nigeria far, saying, 'if they are big politicians, let them come out and let us know what they are saying. Otherwise, if you are talking with people who claim to be talking on their behalf, it means we are not talking to them at all. If they are organised, then we should be able to know them. They should tell us what they want and if what they want is what Nigerians can give, then it will be given to them. We will try to give it.
'But they should know they are not the only ones with grievances in this country. I too have got my grievances but I don't think I should be carrying a gun or planting bombs,' Onaiyekan stated.
On how the Federal Government can put an end to the activities of the sect, Onaiyekan said the president should realise that in security issue, everybody was a stakeholder. He also said it was not a matter for only one small committee that meets in secret and delivers its report in secret.
'Have they discovered who they are, what kind of grievances they have? I heard they are saying they want all those responsible for the killing of their Oga to be brought to book. I mean, I believe we can hear what they are saying. Who killed their Oga? Were those people given order? If so, who are those who gave the order? These are issues they should not discuss only in secret.
'Above all, I think it is dangerous to give the impression that if you are angry with the country, you should start planting bombs because there are many people who are angry with Nigeria. If we continue that way, then we will not finish with bombs and bombs are not difficult to plant,' Onaiyekan noted.
On the fear in some quarters that the present security challenge could lead to the disintegration of the country, Onaiyekan said he did not think so if it was handled with firmness and wisdom.
'Why I am saying I don't think so is that the vast majority of Nigerians, even though we are not satisfied with the Nigeria that we have now, we don't agree with those who go around planting bombs that are killing innocent people.
'We still want to change things in a peaceful way. And all of us who believe that way should put our heads together. And those who are in charge of affairs should be prepared to change their attitudes. Those are the things that can be done to keep Nigeria together. In my opinion, it is not the Boko Haram that will disintegrate Nigeria. It is greedy and selfish leaders who will destroy this country,' Onaiyekan declared.