Posted by News Express | 10 April 2013 | 4,305 times
The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) this afternoon spat fire over the decision of the Nigerian Government to grant amnesty to the Boko Haram insurgents.
News of the amnesty was broken on April 4 by News Express minutes after the decision was taken by President Goodluck and conditionallyendorsed by the country’s service chiefs during a meeting in Aso Rock, the Nigerian seat of power.
Addressing a World Press Conference at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, the Christian youths dismissed the arguments advanced for the amnesty for Boko haram and went ahead to demand the arrest of “the likes of Senators Zanna, Bukar Abba Ibrahim and others whose utterances and actions have implicated them.”
In a emotion-ladded address, President of the Youth Wing Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), Dr. Simon Dolly (JP), requested government to “as a matter of necessity build ‘Christian Vocational Centres’ in the 36 states of the Federation including Abuja.” He warned darkly that “nobody has the monopoly of violence.” Below are excerpts of the address:
“We find it important to address you this moment on the state of our nation, Nigeria. In recent times, there have been concerted calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to grant amnesty to the Islamist group, Boko Haram.
“We are worried by this clarion call and the subsequent setting up of a committee by President Goodluck Jonathan to work out modalities for granting amnesty despite his earlier position on the amorphous nature of this terrorist group. We, the entire Christian Youths in Nigeria say NO to any form of amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect or any such group.
“In case the Federal Government is contemplating granting amnesty to willful murderers masquerading as political and religious insurgents who do not respect the basic tenets of humanity and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal Government should be prepared to face perhaps more deadly and sophisticated response.
“If the proponents of amnesty are claiming that poverty, injustice and unemployment are the root causes of the unrest, our questions are: Is injustice, poverty and unemployment limited to the Muslim youths alone? Are Christian youths in the north and, indeed, all over Nigeria not suffering from unemployment, injustice and poverty? Would President Jonathan accede to requests for amnesty to MASSOB, OPC, Middle Belt and other groups with complaint against the Federal Government if tomorrow they pick up arms to advance their causes?
“We appeal to the President not to be cowed by politicians and few misfits and naturally rebellious persons in the north who are attempting to use the Boko Haram insurgency as a bait to correct what they have failed to do while they were in power. This planned amnesty for murderers is potentially dangerous to Nigeria and Nigerians because it is a clarion call to more terrorism in Nigeria. As it is, the Christian youths in the north who have all along been marginalized by these same advocates of amnesty to Boko Haram members would have been given more muscles to deal with Christian youths.
“Before taking further decision on this request by these northern elders, Mr. President should remember that the amnesty being advocated is for Muslim youths who are the Boko Haram members and who have killed, maimed our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and children and also bombed and burnt our Churches without provocation. Many of us are now carrying the burden of our parents and brothers who have been killed. What kind of injustice can be more than this if amnesty is granted to those who wreaked this havoc. Mr. President, it would amount to pampering the same people who have turned Nigeria into another Bosnian state and calling the bluff of those who are the victims of the bloodthirsty sect members.
“We ask Mr. President to go all out for these Boko Haram members by consolidating on the gains made by the various security agencies and to arrest the likes of Senators Zanna, Bukar Abba Ibrahim and others whose utterances and actions have implicated them. Injustice, unemployment and poverty is not limited to the Muslim north alone. It is injustice if Almajari schools are built for the Muslim youths alone and funded by tax payer’s money. To now grant amnesty to Boko Haram members is compounding the injustice. The fact that Christian youths have not reacted does not mean we are cowards. We have simply been under strict instructions not to react by the CAN leadership. But Mr. President would help a great deal not to fuel the anger of Christian youths by disowning the amnesty request because we would have no excuse to give our youths if this amnesty deal is struck.
“We have continued to watch how billions of tax payer’s money is being used to build ‘ALMAJIRI’ Schools. We hereby demand unconditionally, the return of all missionary schools to their rightful owners and to also as a matter of necessity build ‘Christian Vocational Centres’ in the 36 states of the Federation including Abuja. Furthermore, the continued lack of employment of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) teachers in most of the Northern states should be reversed immediately. . . .
“As law abiding citizens of this great country, we will not fail to pray and watch with keen interest how situation unfold but wish to state that ‘nobody has the monopoly of violence.’ ”
•Photo shows President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
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