June 19, 2012 – Stop Lamenting Deal With Boko Haram Now
In his usual manner of reacting to the bombing of innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect which are now more frequent, President Goodluck Jonathan lamented Sunday’s coordinated bombing of three churches in Kaduna and Zaria and pleaded with victims not to retaliate. He said his government was doing everything possible to put an end to the carnage being witnessed now almost on weekly basis in the Northern part of the country.
Many Nigerians believe that the government is incapable of stemming the dastardly killing of innocent Nigerians in their places of worship by the deadly Islamic sect, considering the frequency of the attacks.
Now, what we are afraid of has started happening. Enraged Christian youths on Sunday took to the streets to avenge the killings of worshippers in three churches in Kaduna and Zaria by the fundamentalist sect. Tired of the incessant and unabating attacks on Christian congregations and the seeming inability of government to rein them in, hundreds of youths decided to retaliate by attacking every Muslim found on their way. Scores of innocent Muslims going about their daily chores were attacked and killed by the angry youths in the two cities.
In our previous editorials, we had warned of the dire consequences for the nation if the government and all those concerned fail to stop the murderous activities of Boko Haram and allow it to degenerate into a religious war between Christians and Muslims. We warned that if the attacks continued the way it is going with Christians being attacked at their places of worship every Sunday, the latter might be forced to retaliate.
Just like we warned, in a spontaneous reaction and unmistakeable language of enough is enough, Christian youths decided to take the battle to their Muslim brothers, maiming and killing them in the process.
There are also threats of reprisal attacks on Muslims in Enugu and Onitsha if the killings of Christians and Southerners in the north persist.
What the youths are telling the government is that they are not satisfied with its ostrich approach towards tackling the Boko Haram menace. By their action, the youths are saying that since the government appeared helpless and cannot protect them against attacks by Boko Haram, they have the right to defend themselves. And like the popular saying, the best form of defence is attack.
This action of the youths should not be lost on President Jonathan as it could degenerate into a full scale war.
There is this feeling among the populace that this administration cannot tackle the sect. This feeling is further buttressed by the frequency at which the sect attacks Christians in their churches every Sunday. Last Sunday’s attack on three churches in Kaduna and Zaria followed similar attacks on churches in Jos, Kano and Kaduna during which scores of Christians were killed.
We are calling on President Jonathan to move fast to prevent a bloody religious riot in the country. It is clear by the action taken by Kaduna youths on Sunday that further attacks on their churches by Boko Haram would be met with reprisal attacks on Muslims. This should be prevented at all costs. The attacks should not be allowed to degenerate into an all out religious war between Christians and Muslims. Knowing that this is the intention of Boko Haram supporters who have vowed to make the country ungovernable for him, President Jonathan should convince Nigerians that he is capable of containing the sect.
We are at a loss as to why Northern leaders have not deemed it fit to come out strongly against the sect that is destroying the economy of the region by its activities. If these leaders are patriotic, if they really love their people, this is the time to show it.