This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Oritsejafor Cautions FG On Boko Haram Ceasefire Agreement

Photo: Heather Murdock/VOA
Arms Recovered from Boko Haram.

The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has dismissed the purported ceasefire announced by members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, declaring that Nigerians should not be hoodwinked by their antics.

Oritsejafor, who sounded this warning during the ninth assembly of the Christian body maintained that Boko Haram members should not be taken for their words because the group had been factionalised.

The sect had in a statement released to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State on Monday, announced a ceasefire, citing dialogue with the Borno State Government as reason for taking the action.

The group, however, admitted that there were factions within its fold, when it added that although there were factions within its rank, the supreme power to order a ceasefire rested with the leadership of Imam Abubakar Shekau, who is the leader of the authentic group.

Responding to question on whether the purported declaration of truce holds the light to peace in the land, Oritsejafor said: "Which Boko Haram? There have been all kinds of people that claim to be Boko Haram, now there are two groups, the Shekau group and Asaro group, have you heard from them?

"Even if one person says, I want peace, I drop my weapons, we will be happy, but I still continue to ask which Boko Haram because we have seen situations in the past where they told us that some people said they now want to reach truce and the next day we saw people being killed there."

He also warned those who were dogmatic about certain fundamental beliefs that were opposed to Christian faith with a view to fanning embers of disagreement in the faith to have a rethink.

Oritsejafor, who promised to commit the fresh mandate given to him by the Christian body to pursue peace in the land, also extended his hands of fellowship to the adherents of other faith, stressing that in togetherness lies the destiny of Nigeria and Nigerians.

"Together we are strong, divided, we are weak. Together we can build the nation and reposition Nigeria and make it strong united country. We can reach out to our brothers in other religions, seat together and look for ways to stop terrorism. We should work together to build Nigeria, respect each other and get to the level where no one is judged by his religion, or tribe but by the content of his character.

"We need to establish equity and justice as peace will continue to elude us if we fail to uphold equity and justice in Nigeria. Christianity and Islam must stand side," he also said.

On the moves by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make religious organisation pay taxes, the cleric urged those behind it to leave the church alone, adding that CAN would not fold its arm and watch the churches being stampeded or asked to go to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to obtain a form before they could operate their accounts.

Commenting on his re-election, he said: "My re-election is part of God's plan to ensure that we have a strong nation. We will continue to dialogue with those we need to dialogue with and we will continue to speak out about terrorism, corruption. I see a great moral burden on me now but there is hope that things will get better."

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