- (Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reached out to Muslims in Nigeria to join them in ending the reign of terror by Islamic militant group Boko Haram.
Apostle John Eche, the youth leader of the Niger State chapter of CAN, has asked Nigerians to rise up against Boko Haram, according to the Nigerian Tribune. Eche asked all well-meaning Nigerians, regardless of religious or political background, to join together in efforts to end the violence from the group.
Eche wants Muslims to take the lead in firing back at Boko Haram and all other forms of terrorism in Nigeria. He said that they will be backed at anytime by their Christian brothers.
He blames the attacks of Boko Haram on some religious leaders who are alleged to be providing cover for members of the group. He said that if most of the Islamic faithful had disclaimed the sect, from the start, Boko Haram wouldn't continue to exist.
Furthermore, he pleaded with Muslim leaders and clerics to not just speak against the group, but act in condemnation of the group. He said that many Muslim leaders were "sitting on the fence and refused to condemn the criminal group" at their onset.
Archbishop Michael Kehinde Stephen of the Methodist Church of Nigeria agreed that Christian and Muslim leaders need to act together to address the violence of Boko Haram. In an interview, Stephen said that it is no longer a local problem.
"The government and people need ... demonstration that what is happening in Nigeria is no longer a local problem," Stephen said to The Anglican Communion News. "It is a cause of deep concern internationally, and the great faith traditions can be part of the solution."
Eche made the comments at an interactive meeting of CAN, which met to express shock and displeasure at the Christmas Day bomb attacks by Boko Haram. The meeting was led by CAN Chairman, Reverend Musa S. Dada and it was held at the Evangelical Church of West Africa Church.
Other speakers blamed the Nigerian government for not policing the nation's borders, allowing foreigners with alien religious beliefs to cause harm to Nigerians. Other speakers representing different Christian denominations also blamed the government for failing to protect the lives and property of their citizens.