Premium Times (Abuja)

29 April 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Nigerians Should Be Grateful to the Military - Oritsejafor

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Ayo Oritsejafor, on Tuesday asked Nigerians to be grateful to the military; as without them, the Boko Haram insurgency could have worsened.

The insurgency by the Boko Haram sect has led to the death of several thousands of people since 2009; with over a thousand killed in 2014 alone.

The cleric, who spoke at a forum organised by the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, in Abuja, also called for a mass action against the insurgents.

"I believe that the military are doing their best; they are trying; I will not join those who condemn them; if they were not there, what would we have done?

"We (Nigerians) should be grateful to them (military); we should not demoralise them; we should encourage them; yes, there is hope for improvement but they have done well," he said.

The military has come under criticism recently particularly after the abduction of over 200 school girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State. The military was also criticised for the way it managed its information after the kidnap, particularly its false claim that it had freed all but eight of the victims; a claim it later withdrew.

Mr. Oritsejafor also described the insurgents as cowards.

He said that their strategy in recent attacks on innocent citizens in some parts of the country was detestable.

"We must understand that these insurgents are cowards of the highest order; they are just people who pretend to be religious people but going by their antecedents, they are not.

"My pronouncement on them is that when they die their bodies should be given to pigs because they do not deserve more than that.

"If you are serious about war, you do not go to innocent people, innocent drivers, and innocent travellers and bomb them, this is an act of cowardice," he said.

Mr. Oritsejafor called for a total review of strategy in combating the insurgency and called on citizens to support security agencies in the fight.

He called on the RTEAN to support security agencies in the fight against insurgency in the country.

According to him, people, irrespective of religion, ethnic and political differences, should work towards peace in Nigeria.

He said if there was no peace in the country, transporters would not be able to operate, adding that this underscored the need for unity.

He stressed the need for improved security at the nation's borders to check the flow of persons and equipment into the country, especially in areas prone to armed conflict.

Mr. Oritsejafor called for improved air surveillance of the northern part of the country, to adequately contain the insurgency.

He also condemned the abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno State by the Boko Haram a fortnight ago. He prayed for God's intervention for the abducted school girls to be reunited with their families as soon as possible.

Earlier, RTEAN President, Musa Shehu, commended the CAN president for his support to peace building efforts across the country.

He said the association was ready to partner other stakeholders to entrench peace in the society, including the motor parks.

He solicited the support of the Christian Association in improving road transport business in the country, noting that members of the association had introduced the necessary measures to improve security in the nation's motor parks.

The other members of the CAN executive accompanied the president on the visit.

- NAN

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