Nigeria: Oritsejafor Calls for Buhari’s Arrest Over Boko Haram Comments
By Shola Oyeyipo and Yemi Akinsuyi, Thisday
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has accused former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, of being the brain behind Boko Haram.
Oritsejafor, reacting to the “divisive and inflammatory” statement credited to Buhari, the national leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), called on the federal government to arrest him immediately.
Buhari, while featuring on a programme of a Kaduna-based radio station, Liberty Radio, had questioned the “special treatment” given to Niger Delta militants by the federal government while the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses destroyed by government.
Buhari was quoted to have said: “They (the Niger Delta militants) were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the north were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues. What brought this? It is injustice”.
However, Oritsejafor criticised Buhari’s comments and accused him of fanning the embers of disunity.
He said: “This kind of fundamentalism is the driving force behind his failure in each election in the country. Nigerians have been quite appreciative of the bold steps taken by President Goodluck Jonathan to rid the north of Nigeria’s enemies. This can only mean that the retired General is a fanatic. He is, therefore, the prime leader of this religious and blood-thirsty sect called Boko Haram, a movement that is based on a warped interpretation of a strict adherence to force people of other religions into Islam.
“I cannot wish away the outburst of harshly critical statements, especially as some of them are directly related to the defence of the Boko Haram sect whose members have continued to kill, maim Christians and burn churches. I feel the pain inflicted on Christians living in the north. It is too deep for us in CAN to ignore any unsavoury statement that tends to portray innocent Christians who have been killed by the sect members as the aggressors.
“It is shocking that at a time well-meaning Nigerians are praying for the success of our soldiers, Buhari, rather than reflect the mood of the nation in his statements and conduct, is indulging in careless statements without regards for victims of the sect’s violence who are mostly Christians.
“I have, several times, been vindicated that Boko Haram is not inspired by pecuniary motives, the latest of which is the statement by Robert Fowler, the released former United Nations’ envoy to Niger Republic who said in a BBC programme, “Hard Talk”, aired on Tuesday, 4th of June, 2013, that his captors never talked of poverty but Islamisation of Africa.”
According to him, people like Buhari who inflame religious and ethnic passions should be arrested and grilled by security agents.
“This is why I call for the arrest of Buhari now. Buhari is a big security risk to Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“It is laughable that Buhari, an ex-Head of State, a General in the Nigerian Army, who has served this country in different capacities, would support Islamists who are confronting those in his constituency that are fighting to keep the nation from dismemberment.
“For Buhari who has led a brigade of troops in 1982 to repel invading Chadian troops from the same north-eastern borders of Nigeria, the first major foreign invasion, to oppose a state of emergency when some parts of Borno and Yobe States had been occupied by terrorists and the Nigerian flag replaced with theirs, speaks volume.
“The retired General’s sad commentary has not portrayed him as a national leader. As a retired General, he should have known that fights against terrorists are not mere child’s play. They are much more difficult than conventional war, which he fought in 1982. If Buhari is a national leader, he should have been more concerned about the killings of innocent ones by the sect members and the success of the troops and not that of terrorists as he has been doing,” the CAN president added.
He said given his status as a national leader, Buhari ought to have come up with constructive criticism and proffer alternative solutions in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency instead of making comments that are divisive.