By BARBARA KALU, Abuja –
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said on Thursday that the the renewed attacks by Boko Haram insurgents and their ISWAP allies on Christians and Christian villages was aimed at triggering a religious war in the country.
The Minister, who spoke to journalists in Abuja on Thursday, noted that this was the new tactic adopted by the Boko Haram insurgents to throw Nigeria into chaos,
He recalled that the insurgents didn’t use to discriminate between Christians and Muslims when they carried out their attacks in the past.
“Churches and mosques, Christians and Muslims were attacked without discrimination.
“When they targeted motor parks, the religion, gender, ethnicity or political leaning of the victims didn’t matter, as long as they inflicted the maximum damage to lives and property.
“But in the wake of a renewed onslaught by our tireless military against Boko Haram and their ISWAP allies in recent times, the insurgents have apparently changed their strategy:
“They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos.
“Apparently, they have realised how emotive and divisive religion can be, when exploited by unscrupulous persons,” he said.
He described the insurgents as nothing more than “blood-thirsty, rapacious killers who subscribe to no religion,” even as they were deluding themselves as Muslims.
Citing the attack on a Christian village, Kwarangulum, near Chibok and the killing of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika local government in Adamawa, Lawan Andimi to drive home his point, Alhaji Mohammed also recalled the incidence of the killing of NRopvil Daciya Dalep, a student who was also a member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN); and the killing of 11 Christians on Christmas Eve.
“This is absurd, and very unfair to the men and women who are daily battling the insurgents.
“The truth is that, having run out of options in their battle against Nigeria, the insurgents are desperate to stay relevant, to stay in the news, hence their cowardly and senseless strategy targeting Christians, as part of their increasing resort to the use of Guerilla tactics,” the Minister said.
While calling on both Christian and Muslim religious leaders not to give in to this evil ploy, the minister also drummed support for the Nigerian military to enable them win the current war against the insurgents.
He said: “The resort to the increasing use of Guerilla tactics by the insurgents is a sign of weakness on their part.
“Contrary to the belief in certain quarters, these insurgents are getting weaker by the day, thanks to the gallantry of our men and women in uniform.
“We, therefore, appeal to our leaders, especially religious leaders, not to fall for the antics of Boko Haram and ISWAP, who are trying to divide us along religious lines by
targeting Christians for attacks.
“This is the last desperate move by a decimated and disillusioned band of killers and psycopaths to stay relevant amid constant decimation by our gallant troops,” he said.
“We have what it takes to come together and foil this divisive and satanic strategy.
“We appeal to Nigerians to support the military as it moves to decapitate the insurgents.
“Second-guessing the military at this time is like playing into the hands of Boko Haram.”