While preparing the belated vol 11 no 6 edition of Church Arise!, I think it informative to post the following comment by Emeka Reuben Okala, a UK christian commentator whom I respect, on the Jos killings. As many people would have us believe, the crisis has nothing to do with religion! Emeka Okala wrote this on Naijanet - a Nigerian village-setting forum.
"Bogobiri, who also doubles as the Catholic Bishop of Kafachan said any religion which promotes violence certainly has some questions to answer, saying that the circumstances leading to the Jos crisis has nothing to do with religion but purely political.
"What happened in Jos cannot be described as a religious thing, because there is nothing religious about what has happened. it is only a pity that any time a crises like that occur, it is given some religious coloration and talk."
The last time I checked, innocent graduate-youths on various national callings (NYSC) from the Southern parts of the country were heartlessly hacked down in their primes, even when they were talking to their relatives on phones and praying to God for immediate intervention. It was not reported that those Copers were candidates and flag-bearers of any of the political parties that contested the local government's elections in the Plateau state. It was also not reported that those future leaders cut down in their primes were party fanatics. The cause of their heinous killings simply bordered more on either their religion or tribe. No more! No less!
I'm not saying that the cause of the mayhem was not political. What I'm saying is that political factor could be its remote cause. But "remote" is not the only cause of these dastardly and unacceptable killings, disorder and lawlessness in Jos. There was the "immediate cause element which even became more deadlier than the "remote cause element".
Both causes should be investigated, and those involved brought to book in accordance with the Law of the land. No one has the right to take another person's life under whatever guise. No! Enough is Enough!!
Let me put it succinctly clear to Bogobiri, the Catholic Bishop of Kafanchan that, aside from the remote causes of the mayhem which is undoubtedly political, there was also the immediate' cause element which could either be religious or tribal or both. Immediate causes shouldn't be swept under the carpet as Bogobiri appears to be doing. Nigeria should learn to call a spade by its name and give it the exact treatment it deserves.
With what is happening in Jos, if I were seeing my life in Nigeria at this point in time, I don't think I would encourage any of my relatives to go to any of the Nigerian states in the North to serve the country in the name of NYSC. I will stop her/him from going their - not because I'm not patriotic. It has everything to do with his/her safety. He/she is not safe in the North as long as he/she remains a Christian or Southerner. And this is very unfortunate.
May I call on the Aso Rock, to avoid listening to the rhetoric of religious leaders and politicians and take the bull by the horn. The REMOTE and IMMEDIATE causes of the trouble in Jos should be EQUALLY investigated and those responsible brought seriously to book.
This is the way to bring back confidence in the polity, honour those whose lives were cut down senselessly and keep Nigeria ONE!
Emeka Reuben Okala