Nigerian President dismisses Boko Haram call to resign
"As president, Jonathan is the leader of both Muslims and Christians. It amounts to sheer blackmail for any individual or group to ask the president ... to convert to Islam…"
08/10/2012 Nigeria (ChristianToday)- Nigeria's Christian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday dismissed as "blackmail" a call on him by the suspected leader of Islamist group Boko Haram to resign and convert to Islam.
According to Aminu Abubakar of AFP, Abubakar Shekau made the call in a video released online earlier this weekend.
But the reporter goes on to say that on Sunday, Jonathan's spokesman Reuben Abati dismissed the call.
"When Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in the 2011 general election, they knew they were voting for a Christian...," he told reporters.
"As president, Jonathan is the leader of both Muslims and Christians. It amounts to sheer blackmail for any individual or group to ask the president ... to convert to Islam," Abati added.
"The president cannot be intimidated by any group or individual. The president will never resign. Nobody should imagine that he will succumb to blackmail".
In the video, which was released on Saturday, Shekau told the president: "(Y)ou should abandon this ungodly power, you should repent and forsake Christianity..."
The story says that it was unclear when the video, which is more than 38 minutes long, was made and posted on YouTube, and "while it could not be independently verified as authentic, it was similar to previous videos of Shekau."
Boko Haram has carried out scores of attacks in Nigeria that have left hundreds dead as part of an increasingly deadly insurgency.
The West African nation's 160 million population is roughly divided between a mostly Muslim north and a predominately Christian south.