The indefatigable president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor was one of the key speakers at the landmark joint meeting of the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) and over 30 Christian traditional rulers from Northern Nigeria. At the meeting, which held at Abuja on Tuesday December 9, Pastor Oritsejafor declared that Boko Haram insurgency is essentially all about suppressing the truth, especially about the real strength of Christianity in Northern Nigeria.
According to Pastor Ayo: “The present war we are fighting is a war against the truth. We hate and fear the truth. It is so unfortunate, Nigeria is not free because we are running away from the truth. Truth can be bitter, but when you swallow it, it becomes sweet. No nation can grow without embracing the truth.….We run away from the truth and expect our problems to just vanish. Truth has a way of creating a level-playing field for everybody. We must build a nation on truth. What is happening here is a bold step towards embracing the truth”
Specifically relating the issues to religion, he added:“Let me say that when I was growing up, we were deceived to believe that everybody from northern Nigeria was a Muslim. We were deceived in a sense to think and believe that everybody in northern Nigeria was Hausa/Fulani
It was one Musa who lectured me and brought me out of my ignorance. So many people in the South are also ignorant like me. You may not know that most Nigerians do not know Christian traditional rulers from the North exist in this country.”
He thereafter urged the body “to reach out to those across the Niger so that a true national dialogue can begin.”
Responding, the chairman of the NCEF, Olaiya Phillips described the situation they face in northern Nigeria:
“As we meet, an inferno is engulfing our nation. Everyday, reports reach us from our members of new attacks by Boko Haram and their followers. Each week, a new town or village appears to be briefly occupied, pillaged and then deserted before the insurgents can be apprehended. Innocent civilians are murdered, families are torn apart and communities are expelled. Businesses, farms and churches are razed. Like a wild bushfire, Boko Haram has spread from town to town as they try to establish their vision of an Islamic caliphate”
(Source: Punch Dec 10, 2014, pg 7)