…It’s barbaric, says Oritsejafor
From TIMOTHY OLA, Maiduguri and FRED ITUA, Abuja
Five Christian worshippers were yesterday killed in Potiskum, Yobe State by gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram. Some gunmen were said to have stormed Piri Village in Potiskum Local Government Area of Yobe State while some Christian worshippers were in the Church in the early hours of yesterday. Witnesses said the worshippers were at a local assembly of ECWA Church, Piri, in a prayer session at about 2am on Christmas Day. “Some unknown gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram sect stormed the Church, killed five of them and set the Church ablaze,” a witness said.
More than 20 houses were reportedly burnt down in the morning attack. A source also said the pastor of the Church was among those killed. According to a Christian leader from the state who confided in Daily Sun on condition of anonymity, revealed that several people were severely injured. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Salihu Adamu (DSP) confirmed the incident, adding that five people were killed in the attack. He said the divisional police officer (DPO) in the area was yet to give details of the attack. In his reaction yesterday, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, described the killings as wicked, barbaric and archaic against a people exercising their right to worship.
“It is highly disturbing and very barbaric. It is archaic,” the angry clergy stated. “It is totally against God and anything that has to do with Him. You wonder how people will go to this extent in the name of God. “Let us not continue to deny that there are jihadists, extremists and Islamists in this country. They are here. Let us agree that it is time for us to take certain steps to bring this madness to an end.”
He challenged the worshippers in the area not to give in to evil perpetrators by abandoning their ancestral homes, stressing that doing so would be regarded as an act of cowardice. Oritsejafor further explained that even though he was not against people of other faith, the truth must be told. He said: “Let me again say that I have high respect and regard for my Muslim friends and brothers. I’m not against Muslims. We need their help. We have been saying it and we will continue to say it. Not only do we appeal to them to condemn it, we are asking that they must help us take this message to the grassroots.
“We (Christians) are not their enemies. The clerics that preach in the mosques, they should help us spread this news. With this goodwill, they will be able to flush out those people from among them. When an American ambassador was killed, the ordinary Muslim got angry. This is too much. Americans knew these people and they went and flushed them out of their camps. Why can’t we do the same?” Oritsejafor further noted that it was not enough for northern leaders to condemn any act of violence whenever it occurred. “They must go and do something about it,” he stated.
Speaking on the implication of these senseless killings in the region and in Nigeria as a whole, he said, “these people are not really helping them. They are destroying their economy. When things like these happen, many (northern leaders) come out to condemn these acts. Condemning it as it is now is not enough. They must go a step further. They must condemn these acts. Nigeria belongs to all of us and we must join hands together to make this nation what it is supposed to be. “Nobody is against them. Their minds must be disabused not to believe that these extremists and jihadists are fighting for them. We need these leaders to save us. If they were in Warri, we will know how to flush them out. The northern leaders can do more.”