Further confirming other evidences that the Boko Haram phenomenon was just a tool for making Nigeria ungovernable as threatened by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar earlier in the year, Churches, rather than state institutions or beer parlours, have now become major targets for bombing campaign allegedly perpetrated by Boko Haram. The first of the incidents was the bombing of the All Christian Fellowship in Suleja at 3.00 pm on Sunday July 10. A distraught Christopher Ogbogu described on national television how the bomb, packed in a polythelene bag, had exploded killing three people, including his 51year old wife Theresa, and mother of his five children. They had gone to Church ahead of an evening committee meeting.
The General Overseer of the Church, Rev William Okoye insisted that the motives for the bombing could not only have been religious, but political since the people claiming responsibility obviously lacked capacity for the actions. Rev Okoye was one-time the chaplain of Aso Rock chapel and a key figure in the battle to institute righteousness in the nation. (See an extract of his booklet, Clash of the Champion, Battle for the Soul of Nigeria featured in the Exhortation Column of CA! Volume 4 No 5, in 2001). Church Arise! sympathises with the man of God and his congregation and urge them not to grieve as people without hope (1 Thess. 4: 13).
A day after the fatal explosion at All Christians, another bomb exploded at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), but mercifully, there were no casualties . According to an eyewitness, the bomb was thrown into the premises of the Church in the Madalla suburb of Suleja while members of the congregation were taking part in a weekly prayer service at around 9pm on Monday 11 July. The bomb fell short of the church building, damaging the outer walls but causing no injury. (http://au.christiantoday.com/article/nigeria-another-church-in-suleja-targeted-by-bomb-attack/11541.htm)
On July 28, the spiritual head of Muslims in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar spoke for the first time on Boko Haram (and also on Islamic Banking) (www.vanguardngr.com/2011/07/islamic-banking-has-come-to-stay-sultan/) Interestingly, the Sultan said that the state of affairs in the North Eastern part of the country should not be blamed on Boko Haram, rather that the government should fish out those behind the violence. While most Nigerians agree that there is indeed a clear mismatch between the “voice” and the” hand” behind the violence, nevertheless since Boko Haram is the one claiming responsibility, it can not be totally absolved. In his own reaction to the statement, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, thanked the Sultan and urged him: “if the eminent citizen has superior information, he should avail the nation’s security apparatus with such to put a stop to the daily massacre of innocent Nigerians in that part of the country, because every Nigerian is sick and tired of the continued violence in that region and the attendant effect on the nation’s economy.”
Meanwhile, a letter written in the name of Boko Haram is urging people who use the name of Boko Haram for their own agenda to desist from doing so. Though another counter notice was also issued attributing the first notice to the work of Nigerian security, there can be no doubt that the name Boko Haram has become a cover for many with hidden agenda. For instance the direct trigger for the closure of the University of Maiduguri was a notice purportedly written by Boko Haram and pasted at several places on campus, threatening that some strategic buildings were to be bombed. However another Boko Haram faction dissociated themselves from this threat. Observers noted that the notice was written in English, contrary to the general practice of the real Boko Haram
Stop Press: The FG has raised a committee to dialogue with Boko Haram. (www.vanguardngr.com/2011/07/fg-appoints-committee-to-dialogue-with-boko-haram/) At least, seeing that both the former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff and former Gombe State Governor, Danjuma Goje (now a distinguished senator of the federal republic) have made humiliating apologies to Boko Haram to secure the group’s clemency, ( www.jihadwatch.org/2011/07/nigerian-governors-apologize-to-boko-haram-as-group-goes-on-yet-another-murderous-rampage.html ) some people at least must know who and where the real Boko Haram is. The article on the frontpage of this edition shows how the list of “Boko Haram demands” has been growing to include amazing unrealistic contents – and yet, top politicians are urging urgent acceding to these!