ABUJA, NIGERIA -
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has warned of “palpable danger in the air,” if positive, decisive actions are not taken to stop the carnage been committed by the Boko Haram Islamic religion fundamentalist group in the northern part of the country.
The warning alert was contained in a statement issued by the Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, June 26, 2012; and signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama and Most Rev. Alfred Martins, President and Secretary of the conference, respectively.
According to the bishops: “Of particular concern are the attacks on Christians in their places of worship. Whether by design or not, such actions put grave stress on the already fragile mutual relationship between the Christian and Muslim communities in Nigeria. The sense of anger and hatred is growing by the day and has reached a dangerous level. We must all act now and decisively to arrest and defuse the tension.”
They continued: “Following the injunction of Christ, we shall continue to preach peace, love and forgiveness. But if there is no clear and concrete sign of improvement, the patience of many Christians will wear out, our sermons of restraint will fall on many deaf ears, and those who see violent reprisals as justified deterrence will fall beyond our control. There is palpable danger in the air.”
While commending the government for making some remarkable efforts at controlling the situation, the bishops advocated a change of gear in the approach of government at curtailing the situation noting: “Much more needs to be done in the area of intelligence gathering, analyzing, interpreting and security equipment procurement.”
While reiterating that it is the primary duty of government to ensure security of life and property of citizens of the country they insisted that “there can be no excuse for failure” in protecting the life of the majority of innocent Nigerians.
The bishops further called on Christians to continue to be fervent in prayer to God for protection and change of heart by the perpetrators of this evil act. They added: “We understand that people are tired. But this does not justify our hitting out against one another in violence. Two wrongs do not make a right. Our country is one; hence, we must together find the solution to our woes.”