10 July 2013

Nigeria: Boko Haram / FG Ceasefire Agreement Puzzling - Oritsejafor

Photo: This Day
Boko Haram and Amnesty Group

Abuja — The National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor has hailed the sentencing of four Boko Haram members to life imprisonment by an Abuja High Court.

Oritsejafor made his feeling known at the presentation of a book, "Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God", written by Reno Omokri, Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media.

The court, presided over by Justice Bilikisu Aliyu, on Tuesday sentenced four out of six persons accused of bombing INEC office in Suleja, Niger in April 2012.

Many were killed and others wounded in the blast.

The CAN President, Chairman of the presentation, spoke in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said although Christianity preaches forgiveness, the judgment will assuage the families of the victims of the attack.

"We are Christians, we are taught to forgive, but what is important is the feeling that there is justice.

"I think that is what it is now. Those people that were killed left people behind. There are widows and there are orphans.

"They will sit back and say if there is nothing else, those people who did this will remain in custody for the rest of their lives and that gives a bit of comfort," he said.

On the ceasefire agreement between Federal Government and the Boko Haram sect, Oritsejafor said it was puzzling.

"We have had occasions in the past where some people come out suddenly and say they have renounced violence but the next day, we see people killed here and there.

"A week or two later, the Boko Haram leader, Shekau came out to say he knows nothing about those people and that it is President Jonathan that needed amnesty and not the sect members.

"We also know that there is another faction that came out of Shekau's group that kills foreigners.

"There are at least two deadly groups that we know, so which group are they negotiating with.

"To me, the whole thing is suspect, but anyone that will come out to say he is tired of violence is a good thing because the number of religious fanatics will reduce by one.

"However, I am a little bit puzzled on the position of government that the groups have agreed to cease fire", he said.

Oritsejafor, who was recently re-elected as chairman of CAN for another three years term, said he would concentrate on the unity of the association.

He said he would also work toward the completion of the Jubilee Centre which CAN is building behind the National Christian Centre.

The centre, according to him, will contain a guest house, conference hall and other facilities for use by members of the body.

He said he would also ensure discipline among members in the new term and prayers for the nation particularly to end terrorism.

On the 176-page book, Oritsejafor said "it is topical and a seed that will go out to Nigerians and the rest of the world to desire to do the right things.

Present were Mr Leo Ogor who represented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Director of Lagos Business School, Dr Pat Utomi and Special Adviser to the President on Research and Documentation, Oronto Douglas. (NAN)

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