Following the Nigerian state’s confirmation it is, in fact, engaged in talks with Boko Haram leadership to establish a framework for the signing of a ceasefire, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, expressed doubts as to the sincerity of Boko Haram’s stated aspirations for peace. Dismayed by the extremist Islamic sect’s proposition and subsequent violation of a ceasefire agreement in January, Pastor Oritsejafor urged Nigerians to be wary of the Boko Haram leadership, citing deepening factional divides internal to the insurgency. The Pastor further warned Christian throughout northern Nigeria to continue to anticipate the waging of sectarian violence against them, but to nonetheless continue to work towards and hope for a peaceful solution in the imminent future.
7/13/2013 Nigeria (allAfrica) — The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has dismissed the purported ceasefire announced by members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, declaring that Nigerians should not be hoodwinked by their antics.
Oritsejafor, who sounded this warning during the ninth assembly of the Christian body maintained that Boko Haram members should not be taken for their words because the group had been factionalised.
The sect had, in a statement released to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State on Monday, announced a ceasefire, citing dialogue with the Borno State Government as reason for taking the action.
The group, however, admitted that there were factions within its fold, when it added that although there were factions within its rank, the supreme power to order a ceasefire rested with the leadership of Imam Abubakar Shekau, who is the leader of the authentic group.
Responding to question on whether the purported declaration of truce holds the light to peace in the land, Oritsejafor said: “Which Boko Haram? There have been all kinds of people that claim to be Boko Haram, now there are two groups, the Shekau group and Asaro group, have you heard from them?
“Even if one person says, I want peace, I drop my weapons, we will be happy, but I still continue to ask which Boko Haram because we have seen situations in the past where they told us that some people said they now want to reach truce and the next day we saw people being killed there.”
He also warned those who were dogmatic about certain fundamental beliefs that were opposed to the Christian faith, with a view to fanning embers of disagreement in the faith, have to rethink.
Oritsejafor, who promised to commit the fresh mandate given to him by the Christian body to pursue peace in the land, also extended his hands of fellowship to the adherents of other faiths, stressing that in togetherness lies the destiny of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Together we are strong, divided, we are weak. Together we can build the nation and reposition Nigeria and make it a strong, united country. We can reach out to our brothers in other religions, sit together and look for ways to stop terrorism. We should work together to build Nigeria, respect each other and get to the level where no one is judged by his religion, or tribe, but by the content of his character.
“We need to establish equity and justice as peace will continue to elude us if we fail to uphold equity and justice in Nigeria. Christianity and Islam must stand side by side,” he also said.