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The unending church bombings

The unrelenting wave of attacks on Christian places of worship by the militant sect, Boko Haram, continued on Sunday, October 28, with the bombing of St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Kaduna, the Kaduna State capital. About ten worshippers were killed in the bombing carried out by a lone suicide bomber who drove a bomb-laden vehicle into the walls of the church, as the congregation was about to be served the Holy Communion. More than a hundred worshippers were injured in the incident.

President Goodluck Jonathan has, as usual, condemned the attack and assured the people that the country would not give in to forces of terror and retardation. The president’s recurring assurances in the face of the government’s inability to contain the Boko Haram insurgency have, however, become hollow. They are no better than clanging cymbals in the ears of a people that have become so traumatized by the failure of the goverment to stop the attacks. The incessant assurances of the president on the Boko Haram problem have become meaningless to Nigerians, as his government appears to have given up on the battle against the insurgents.

There is really nothing to show that the government is still making serious efforts to fight Boko Haram. The impression that has been created by recent incidents is that the authorities have capitulated to this sect. One of the incidents that buttress this view is the handling of the recent reported arrest of a Boko Haram commander, Shuaibu Bama, in the house of Ahmad Zanna, a Senator representing Borno Central in the upper legislative chamber. Since the sect leader was arrested by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri about a fortnight ago and Senator Zanna confirmed the terrorist to be his nephew, nothing serious has been done by the government and its security agencies to demonstrate interest in getting to the root of the operations of the sect. Instead of handling the Senator in a way to get him to shed light on his nephew and his involvement with the sect, Nigerians are being entertained with cross-allegations between Zanna and former Borno State governor,

Ali Modu Sheriff, on the actual place the sect leader was arrested. Zanna has alleged that Bama was not arrested in his house but that of Sheriff, a claim that Sheriff has disputed. Zanna further claimed that the JTF killed 15 innocent boys playing football on a field in Maiduguri, but decided to frame him with the Bama arrest because of his protests against extra-judicial killings in the town. The ongoing altercation on matters extraneous to the matter at hand, and the indecisive handling of the suspects by the authorities, do not suggest that the government is serious about solving the Boko Haram problem. Government’s incessant statements on the attacks without any success in stopping them have become boring. We expect the president to go beyond speechmaking and demonstrate leadership necessary to put the problem behind Nigeria

. It is not enough for security agencies to only quickly move in to prevent reprisal attacks after Boko Haram succeeds in bombing churches. They ought to be more proactive in their assignment of protecting churches against attacks. What is urgently required now is success in this assignment, not condolences as we have it now. We condole with the people who suffered injuries or lost loved ones in this dastardly incident. Let government agencies do all they can to provide succour for the victims.

The bombings also demand prompt and decisive action from the authorities. It is unacceptable that people now live in fear of attacks in the Northern part of the country. Security of the people, as we have had occasion to quote from the Nigerian Constitution several times, is the primary responsibility of the government. A government that cannot secure life and property in the country is not worth the name. It is on the brink of failure, no matter what it is able to achieve in other sectors of national life. Boko Haram, we daresay, has become an albatross for the Jonathan administration. Whether this government likes it or not, its success or failure will be largely determined by how it is able to resolve the insurgency logjam. W

e, therefore, urge the government to rededicate itself to the fight against terrorism in the country. It must strive to stop the insurgency through information obtained from the suspects that are now in its custody. This is the only way to demonstrate that it is serious and committed to the bid to end the problem. The way to end this insurgency is not for the authorities to continue changing the leadership of the police and other security agencies in a game of musical chairs.

It has become glaring that the frequent change of guards in the agencies has not resolved the problem. This goes to show that beyond the issue of the person leading these agencies at any point in time, the government has to demonstrate sincerity on the matter. It should not give up the fight as appears to be the case now, and there should be no sacred cows that cannot be brought to book.

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  1. Kinwot Ekanem November 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Sometimes, I wonder what is going with Nigerian government? The simple truth is that the president is afraid to take positive actions on this case. Boko Haram can be stopped by us. So, Mr. President wake up and cope this menace.

  2. Ojochide Jacob Abu November 4, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Christians in the north are at the receiving end of the GEJ administration’s inefficiency in the area of security and right to life/live.

  3. chi November 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    It is now lawful to kill,maim and burn christians and their belongings in d north.what folows is usualy condolences and a reminder nt to go on reprisal atacks.d northern politicians ar enjoyin it bt beliv me,it wil BACKFIRE!.

  4. thomas November 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    it is now done on our government dat dey are no longer on top of d situation as dey use to say. I tink d truth is now obvious to us “dat is insincerity on d part of our government” dey kip playing hide and seek game wit us……..

  5. olu joseph November 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Now tell me someone what Dasuki has achieved since his appointment as NSA was foisted on the president. But let us tell mr president that this scenario is no longer acceptable to the Christians and to the world at large. I bet you if it were the muslims that have have likewise affected mr president would have now been impeached. The president must act decisively in this matter now. He should prove that he is in charge and the C in C of Nigerian forces. If our forces are not able to contain this internal aggression we should throw away the shame and seek external help from the US, Germany, Israel, France, China, India or name it. The president must not give the impression that he does not care about the continued killing of innocent Christians in their sacred places of worship in a secular country of which he is the elected president. Enough is enough.

  6. Emeka November 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Well, wat do u expect 4rm GEJ. The young man neva had a blue print on hw 2 go abt the biz of governance. The nation hv been vacilliating 4rm pillar 2 post since the inception of his administratn. Perhaps, dis is hw far gudluck can push him.

  7. kelvin ogba November 4, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    What has the change of NSA achieved for Nigeria and ner citizen.He did the appointment to compesate the North thinking the leaders and sponsors of the these devils will capitulate.Untfil GEJ stopped ruling nigeria by sentiment,good leadership will be 50yrs behind…

  8. Stine Chykee November 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Was it not some of you people who keep saying that Mr GEJ will still contest of President come 2015 wen its obvious that Mr GEJ is really a coward and he have the impetuse to dialogue with BH and agrees to accept to compasate the families of the BH that JTF kills wen the innocent Christians and Igbos that was murdered by Bh nobody is talking about how to compasate them.Mr GEJ i use to respect you and have faith in you before but now shame unto you

  9. ochiagha November 6, 2012 at 12:05 am

    all xtian church leaders in nigeria should co-operate with the police to encourage the installation of electronic secuity gates (similar to those at airports)for all church premises in all xtian parts of nigeria. this will deter any carrier of metal(bombs,etc) from going into any church premises unnoticed.
    meanwhile, church members should go to church on foot for a period of time if they really love to worship GOD. massive trekking to the church weekly is bound to be seen by GOD as Absolute Faith In HIM, requiring His Vengeance on the Persecutors of xtians. TRUST GOD. HE KNOWS WHAT TO DO.

  10. dorcas November 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I realy campaigned for GEJ at the previous election because i had faith in him to lead Nigeria forward, but it’s just clear to all that he’s just being controlled, he’s not a man of his own. AM VERY DISSAPOINTED

  11. MUYIWA ADEKUNLE November 7, 2012 at 10:45 am

    The Sunday Sun’s November 4 edition on “The Unending Church Bombings” made interesting reading, especially in the way it exposed the sentimental swings in the analysis of current security challenges as a major flaw of editorial positions on national issues. That editorial was nothing short of a premeditated derision of the concerted efforts of Government and its respective agencies in striving to manage the truly alarming security situation in the country.
    In the expressed opinion of Sunday Sun’s editors there is “nothing to show that the government is still making serious efforts to fight Boko Haram”. They even went as far as accusing government of “capitulating” to the sect. All these weighty charges were triggered by the unfortunate suicide bombing of the St Rita’s Catholic Church at Unguwar Yero, in Kaduna on October 28 which claimed lives and maimed scores of worshippers. You don’t have to be a media psychologist to know that the views of the editors were spontaneous sentiments of outrage by agitated observers and not the sober and objective analysis enlightened readers deserve from a leading national daily.
    Now that, God willing, the aftershock of that tragedy has been peacefully dissipated, the Sun’s editors should be more composed to compose editorials hinged on candid review of the issues at stake pertaining to the bombing and the on-going counter-insurgency and law enforcement operations across the country. For sure, whenever such savage assaults on innocent people occur there should be no hesitation or word-mincing in condemning them or even in expressing concern about insecurity and urging the authorities to be more “pro-active”. But when respected national dailies take a position on the matter, we should have enlightened commentary that will positively impact on readers, the authorities and the nation.
    In spite of the recent bombing of the Kaduna church, we cannot dismiss the reality of a relentless and ruthless counter-insurgency operation especially in the northern states in general and the Borno-Yobe axis in particular. In fact this operation has even caught the attention of certain international organizations whose criticisms may not be complimentary but certainly confirm the awesome joint-services onslaught on the Boko Haram insurgency. Of course no northerner or resident of the northern states will agree that there is nothing to show to demonstrate the seriousness of government’s fight against the sect. From tortuous queues at sand-bagged security posts in towns and on highways, to constant patrols of city streets and metal screening body searches even to enter mosques and churches, there is just too much to show proactive as well as counteractive seriousness in the management of security challenges. Our brethren in besieged Maiduguri/Damaturu have even been saying the fight is too serious !
    The visible manifestations of vigorous counter-insurgency operations are themselves supported by a myriad of covert activities and intelligence initiatives as well as training and logistics undertakings specially packaged for addressing the peculiar challenges of unconventional urban armed insurrections. Arguably, the most intriguing challenge of all is nagging infiltration of local communities by insurgents and the ensuing dilemma of dealing decisively with insurgents in the midst of “human shields” and concerns for other collateral damage. Our gallant joint-task forces are currently in the eye of an internationally-triggered storm over human rights and rules of engagement, surreptitiously skewed to demonize the security agencies.
    In the heat of outrage following an act of terror it is easy to “forget” the gains of the supposedly unwinnable war without boundaries. Yet there is no reasonable doubt about the marked decline in scale and spate of the bombing sprees that heralded the onset of terrorism. The joint operations of the security forces have definitely and effectively curbed those wanton attacks and practically contained the insurgents in a virtual enclave in the Borno/Yobe axis by sheer firepower and fearlessness. To their credit, even in the midst of unavoidable protests from unintended victims of urban warfare, the justification of their deployment is upheld by the lengthening intervals between attacks and the hard fact that Borno and Yobe would have been bombed out of the nation’s control long ago.
    We must not gloss over the steady decimation of the ranks of the insurgents, particularly the spectacular arrests and killing of several insurgent “commanders” and spokesmen, not to mention the gradual unravelling of the mystery of the political and the partisan dimensions of the insurgency as well as the regional and international linkages. It must be conceded to the recent dexterity and potency of the internal security management apparatus that the hitherto abominable prospects of cease-fire and dialogue has ultimately become a realistic recourse of the insurgency leaders. Indeed, Nigerians have all welcomed this as a credible evidence of sustained government seriousness in fighting terrorism from all fronts to achieve peace and restore security of lives and property in affected areas.
    The Kaduna bombing was therefore hardly enough ground for Sunday Sun to launch into a flight of fury and unwarranted discrediting of the valiant efforts of our security forces in the battle against Boko Haram insurgency. We have moved from the initial shell-shocked despondency into a more re-assuring phase of containment and negotiated resolution. This welcome development is the most remarkable evidence of the seriousness of government and its internal security management team in their constitutionally and professionally assigned role of ensuring the security of lives and property and defending the territorial integrity of the nation.
    MUYIWA ADEKUNLE wrote from Osogbo

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