Oritsejafor Making Inciting Comments –North

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The North has criticised the National President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, for faulting a ceasefire deal between the Federal Government and the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The apex body of the North, Arewa Consultative Forum, on Friday warned Oritsejafor not to instigate the public to scuttle peace moves in the region.

The Chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, Mr. Kabiru Turaki (SAN), had last Monday announced a ceasefire deal between the government and the sect.

But on Wednesday at the ninth National Assembly of CAN where he was re-elected, Oritsejafor dismissed the ceasefire deal.

He noted that Boko Haram could not be taken seriously because the group had been factionalised, because there were two groups –the Shekau group and the Ansaru group.

“Even if one person says ‘I want peace and I drop my weapons. I will still ask, ‘Which Boko Haram?’ We have seen situations in the past, where they told us that some people wanted truce and the next day we saw people being killed,” the CAN President said.

The National Publicity Secretary, ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, in an interview with our correspondent, however, said starting dialogue with a faction of the sect could lead other reluctant members embracing it.

He also said, “CAN President is expected to encourage this government, instead of creating doubt in the minds of both the government and Nigerians. That is unhelpful. This is because it is not possible for all the members of the sect to agree with dialogue – all at the same time. The extremist ones among them will always oppose dialogue.”

The ACF spokesman urged Nigerians to support the moves by the Federal Government, saying security issues should be approached in bipartisan manner.

While Sani admitted the possibility of a reprisal by members of Boko Haram over the life sentence passed on five members of the sect by a court recently, he said it was because the terms of dialogue had yet to be discussed.

He also said government’s moves for dialogue could run concurrently with the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

Sani noted that the emergency rule was only to enable the government to reclaim Nigerian territories seized by the sect and not to preclude dialogue.

“ACF believes as soon as the territories have been fully reclaimed, dialogue will take the centre stage.

“With such assurance from the government that it has the capacity and capability to execute strategy of stick and carrot, it would be unpatriotic for anybody to doubt the possibility of the reported ceasefire,” Sani added.

He added that Orisejafor should allow those concerned with the affairs of security in the region to make comments.

“He (Oritsejafor) has been making very incendiary statements; he’s been accusing people left, right and centre. I don’t believe in his kind of religious leadership. He is not a Muslim; he is not a member of Boko Haram and he has no business commenting on the leadership structure of the sect.

“He doesn’t know the working structure of government. He has never worked in government.”

On his part, the National Coordinator, Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professional and Businessmen, Dr. JunaidMohammed, however, expressed his doubt over the ceasefire deal.

“Do you believe any ceasefire deal was signed?” he asked our correspondent.

He alleged that Turaki was only playing to the gallery with the ceasefire deal to win the favour of the Presidency.

“If you want to sign any deal with anybody, you must identify the bona fides. You can call your friend to come and sign a deal with you but how are you sure he’s the de facto leader? Boko Haram is not just a terrorist’ organisation, it is also an underground organisation. You must know the structure of any organisation before you can confirm that you’re dealing with the bona fide leader.”

On the prosecution of five members of the sect, he said nobody was above the law, adding that Nigerian justice system should be scrapped if it dreads prosecuting criminals.

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