Why terrorism must be tackled in Nigeria – Bishop

A Nigerian Catholic Bishop, Bishop Arogundade, has warned the British Parliament that Nigeria is at risk of being over-run by Islamists unless the West acts firmly to combat terrorism there.


In a meeting in Westminster, the Bishop told politicians that Nigeria could become the next Afghanistan unless decisive action is taken against terror groups and their sponsors, adding that the Christians were facing the risk of genocide.


“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has spoken against the unprecedented insecurity situation in Nigeria repeatedly but to no avail.


“We have walked for life, protested and even called the President (Muhammadu Buhari) to resign if he is incapable of fulfilling the basic purpose of government – the security of lives and properties of citizens. Even at that, nothing has changed.


“With 3,478 people killed as of June this year and the increased cases of terror thereafter,” he said he strongly wished to appeal to the UK government and “all people of goodwill to compel the Nigerian government to stop the genocide.


“Or, in the least, ask for help from other countries before Nigeria is overrun as is the case of Afghanistan.


“The entire nation is on the edge, apprehensive of a major offensive that may sweep round the entire country.


“Already, many embassies were forced to close down last two weeks as a result of an intelligence report predicting such major attack in Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria,” the cleric said.


According to Catholic Heralds, Bishop Arogundade, speaking at the launch in London of “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2020-22”, compiled and published by Aid to the Church in Need UK, said Christians in Nigeria also faced mounting levels of persecution.


He began by recalling the massacre at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, his own diocese, on June 5, where gunmen left 41 people dead and 73 other seriously injured when they opened fire on Catholics assembled for Mass on a Sunday.


The Bishop said, “Like other attacks on churches in Nigeria, no one has been charged for committing this crime.


“No one or group of people should have the audacity under any circumstance to unleash the level of mayhem going on in Nigeria on innocent citizens.


“The world must insist that terrorists, their sponsors and their sympathisers be brought to justice. Please, ask the Nigerian government to deploy all the legal instruments and political institutions for protecting and enforcing the rights and freedom of the minority to stop the killings.


“This pogrom is not caused by climate change as believed by some western climate change ideologists. It is far from it. It is clearly the use of terrorism to accomplish an age-long ethno/religious objective. The world must stop this evil and hold the perpetrators accountable.”