Akinola warns of a Nigerian jihad from Boko Haram: The Church of England Newspaper, June 10, 2012 p 7. June 8, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Islam, Persecution, Terrorism.
Tags: Boko Haram, Goodluck Jonathan, Peter Akinola
The former Primate of Nigeria has rejected claims that the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria is driven by economic deprivation or tribal jealousies.
Speaking to a congregation that included the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, and its political elites, Archbishop Peter Akinola lambasted the country’s parlous political state. Human sin, tribal passions and Britain’s determination to get out of Africa before it had prepared the new nation for independence had led to the present state of affairs.
“Shun all political claims that Boko Haram is not against Christianity. It is,” Archbishop Akinola said on 27 May 2012 in a sermon at the National Christian Centre in Abuja in celebration of Democracy Day.
The war has been “going on since 1966. They are committed to Jihad. You can’t stop them it is their religious obligations. They have been doing it for 36 years; they have not stopped and they won’t stop,” Archbishop Akinola said.
Recent press reports in the West have argued that the Boko Haram insurgency is not, at heart, a religious war. On 24 May 2012 the Voice of America reported that a report by the NGO Human Rights Watch claimed that while the conflict may be along ethnic and religious lines, but the “root of the fighting is often political and economic.”
“We have ignored the truth. Boko Haram must be seen in the right context. It is a continuation of the past,” the archbishop said.
“Boko Haram means Jews and Christians are abomination. They have been unleashing terror since 1966 and they have a mandate. This problem is not peculiar to Nigeria, many other stakeholders are disenchanted but waiting for their time. They want to eliminate infidels which includes you Mr. President,” the archbishop said to the congregation, which included Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan.
Archbishop Akinola warned the country’s leaders gathered for the Democracy Day service that Nigeria had lost its way. “We are still disunited. Leaders are interested in their own, no national identity. We are blood thirty and bloodletting society with no regards for sanctity of life. Nigeria is at war against itself. Selfish politicians are doing all things on basis of political exigency.”
Nigeria’s former colonial master had done the country no favours by its hasty grant of independence, the archbishop said. “A word of truth about our past amalgamation, there was no consent from the South and North. It was done for political and economic gains of the colonials. Our leaders failed to gather the authentic representatives of Nigerians to seek the kind of independent Nigeria they want.”
“This would have led to a new Nigeria,” the archbishop said according to accounts of his speech published in the Nigeria press.
“The euphoria of independence was consequently short-lived,” he said and the “political atmospheres” were now “full of acrimony. There is tribal war. The country has been fragmented with inhibitions to progress.”
The general election of first republic was based on a “faulty census leading to blood-letting that led to the [Biafran Civil War],” he said, as national unity cannot be maintained by “military fiat.”
The 1970s and 1980s in Nigeria were “characterised by unrest, military rule, coup, and armed robbery.” The year 1999 saw the “return of democracy,” but since that time “rather than dealing with the causes, successive governments have been hiding from the truth putting new wine in old bottle.”
“Insecurity has been with us. About 30 crises so far has occurred in the country leading to religious and ethnic cleansing. In 1980 another religious riot with Christians killing took place. In all cases, we have failed to address the causes,” the archbishop warned.
Nigeria’s structural problems were also coupled with the moral failings of its people. “Corruption, the hydra-headed monster, has taken over the soul of Nigeria,” Archbishop Akinola said.
“Officials are stealing us blind,” he said, and they scavenge the country’s “carcass” for their own ends. Government anti-corruption campaigns were “selective” and short lived. The police and judiciary did not have “clean hands” while the country’s universities had become diploma mills giving honours and “questionable titles” to the powerful. All of this “will continue because government pays lip service to the fight against corruption,” the archbishop said.
In his address to the gathering, President Jonathan disputed the predictions of further chaos made by Archbishop Akinola. “Even though people are predicting the disintegration of Nigeria, let me assure you that Nigeria will not disintegrate. Though we have these challenges, but we will succeed,” he said.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.