ACN News: Wednesday, 2nd May 2012 – NIGERIA
Government too weak to stop Islamists
By John Pontifex
NIGERIA’S most senior bishops have lambasted the government, saying it is too weak to deal with the growing threat from Islamists waging a campaign of terror against Christians.
Archbishops Ignatius Kaigama, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, and Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja both denounced the government’s response to the growing threat from Islamist groups, saying Christians were increasingly at risk of attack.
They were speaking after at least 21 people were killed and more than 20 others were injured on Sunday, 29th April in coordinated attacks targeting Sunday services at a university campus in Kano, and a chapel in Maiduguri belonging to the Church of Christ in Nigeria.
The violence is the latest in a series of attacks on Sunday worshipers but, in a sign that the situation has worsened, Christians at Bayero University chapel were gunned down by Islamists as they tried to escape the scene.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
(Archbishop John Onaiyekan © ACN)
Speaking from Nigeria in interviews with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, both bishops said they had lost patience with the government’s efforts to stem the crisis caused by Boko Haram and other militant groups.
Archbishop John Onaiyekan said: “At first we were ready to be patient with the government when it was saying that this kind of Islamic terrorism is new.
“They have had adequate time to learn how to deal with this situation, gathering intelligence about those directly involved and bring them to book.
“It has become clear that we have a weak government that has put together a whole lot of compromises that means that the action that should be taking place is not taking place.”
The Archbishop said the government was too divided “to muster the political will” to deal with the crisis.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Kaigama said: “The rampant attacks show that government security is not working.
“The government is not able to cope with the security situation and we feel quite apprehensive as a result.”
“Why the government cannot identify the people involved baffles the imagination. We pay tax money and we have a right to know what is being done about the problem.”
Archbishop Kaigama, whose northern diocese of Jos has been among those worst affected by Islamist violence, said: “Those young people killed at the university represented the hope of our country. It defies all logic. They were people trying to build a better country.
(Archbishop Kaigama © ACN)
Islamist group Boko Haram, which has clamed responsibility for a number of attacks, is said to have killed at least 450 people this year alone in violence targeting not just churches but government and police buildings and markets.
In one of the worst attacks, 44 people were killed and more than 80 were injured on Christmas Day last year when a suicide bomber targeted St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, outside the capital, Nigeria.
Last month, a Boko Haram spokesman reportedly said the Islamist terrorist group had declared “a war on Christians” aimed at “eradicating” them from parts of the country.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.
For more information or to make a donation to help the work of Aid to the Church in Need, please contact the Australian office of ACN on (02) 9679-1929. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 6245 Blacktown DC NSW 2148.
On Line donations can be made at www.aidtochurch.org
Responses are not allowed!
DONATE NOW - HOW TO DONATE | SUPPORT | THE MIRROR | BEQUESTS | MASS OFFERINGS | CONTACT
Ph/Fax (02) 9679-1929 e-mail: email@example.com web: www.aidtochurch.org