Churches As Bomb Guinea Pigs

by Joe Effiong

When some Western broadcast media prophesied that our dear country, Nigeria, wouldn’t last another 15 years, some of us assumed to be very patriotic had begun to rain curses on such a prophecy. In a typical Nigeria manner, we definitely had muted; “Not our portion.”

And when the former Libyan strongman (was he really strong considering the sheepish way he died?), Muammar Gaddafi came to Nigeria about a year later to tell us some away truth; that Nigeria should be divided into two with the Christians taking the southern half while Moslems cart away the Northern portion, we rightly or otherwise labeled him a prophet of doom. What business did Gaddafi have to tell us how we can manage our country? I still believe he had no locus standi in Nigerian affairs. Thank God he is no more.

But hardly had Gaddafi plane landed back in Tripoli before a certain Muhammed Yususf assembledhis disciples to create a new vocabulary in Nigeria’s already crowed socio-religious lexicon; Boko Haram. We are told it means western education is sin. No problem; anybody who does not like to sit down in the classroom and listen to teacher speak grammar has the right to stay at home or go to seminary or Quranic school. It is a free world; and Nigeria can be described to be the freest on earth. In fact it is free to a fault.


But it seems Muhammed didn’t only want himself and his brainwashed followers, which we are told, included even academics of higher institutions, and their children to stay at home and read Quran and later go into the street to beg for alms from Christians, but he also wanted everybody, especially Christians to stop going to school, close mission schools, and turned them into Islamic study centres.


He however didn’t show his real intention at the beginning as he appeared to be targeting security agents who he accused of disturbing his Boko Haram business until he realized that he could expedite the realization of his ambition by garnishing it with the blood of Christians.

The president of Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor narrated two weeks ago, how Muhammed went into a church in Maiduguri, rounded up the worshippers there and commanded them to recite some portions of the Quran. Others adopted the St. Peter’s situational ethics: denied Christ momentarily, repented later but save their life. But the presiding pastor, one Rev. Ojeh, from Benue state took the St. Paul’s absolutist option of all-or-nothing, and refused to obey Muhammed. Oritsejafor said Muhammed personally murdered Rev. Ojeh in the presence of hischurch and family members at the church altar, and walked away unmolested. He still carried on his jihad like a crown prince of Boko Haram Kingdom till he started overstepping his assigned bounds by killing some soldiers.


In Nigeria, every soldier is supposed to be a Moslem or at least speak Hausa even if he is a chaplain in the army. So by killing soldiers, it appeared, his backers thought he definitely had killed a Moslem in the process, as such decided to track him down which resulted in an arrest and eventual killing. Some said he was killed extra-judicially; whatever that means.

Boko Haram retreated after the death of Muhammed; demanded a king ransom of N100 million and got it as compensation for the death of Muhammed, even when no other family – Moslem or Christian – has so far got a kobofor the loss of the family members through the jihad atrocities of Boko Haram.


By the time they resurfaced in 2010, it was with revived anger, hatred and venom which they visited on even the police force headquatres late last year. The former inspector general of police was only five minutes late and lucky, else he would have been blown to shreds by the suicide bomber who wreaked havoc on the premises. The police stations in Kano were the next victims, followed by the hallowed United Nation building in Abuja, on the secular scale.


But their “best expedition” was on December 25, 2011, when they bomb a catholic church in Madalla, in the outskirts of Abuja, killing scores of people on Christmas day.Other church bombings have now become a hobby for the Boko Haram boys who test the potency of their home-made explosive concoction on Christians on church premises on Sundays. As I’m writing this, I’m told another one has happened in Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), Jos, and people have been killed.


I labored to recall this recent history with a lot of effort because history was not my favourite subject. In fact I didn’t study it beyond class one: History of the West Africa by F.K. Buah. Thank God I didn’t because Nigerians don’t like history. I’m told it is no longer offered as single-honours course in our universities. It is now combined with political science, public administration or international studies.

It is the “right” thing to do because we are a country that lives only for the moment; not past; no future. If you ask how many people died in the Madalla suicide bombing incident, most people wouldn’t know; even the federal government wouldn’t remember. It would only remember to set up committees or panels to probe the carnage and forget even the name of the chairman of the committee the next day. Government would tell all those that care to listen that they are on top of the situation even when the face of the person making the empty statement has total confusion written all over.


We will set up committees upon existing committees to investigate why an aircraft crashes and forget about the panel findings, and wait for another crash to set up another panel. We will target everything to be free in the Year 2000 and before we knew, we had forgotten about that and set up Vision 2010 and later made it Vision 202020, then forgotten about it.

Mataisine would come and massacre Christians in the North; we would placate them and forget that such a thing ever happened. Sharia exponents would come with anti-Christian jihad; we will placate them, pay them compensation and wish them well while the victims bury their deaths in anguish. Fulani herdsmen would ravage farmlands, rape women and kill their husbands; we will set up nomadic schools for their children and pay their Islamic teachers special salary because western education is evil in their sight. Yet we are in one Nigeria.


When one looks at the speed with which we forget the past and the future, dwell in the present, plan for now, one wonders whether we are too big to manage our material and intellectual resources; one wonders whether the western media and Gaddafi actually made sense; one wonders whether we will even survive the next 15 years.

If a family that lost up to four members in any of the suicide bombing incidents were given the option to have back their members alive for Nigeria to peacefully divide based on religious lines, would they choose to allow their brutally murdered brothers/sisters rest in pieces for the country to remain in the present fragile peace? But what is still disturbing remains: When we divide the country, where will Christians in the North and the Moslems in South run to. Maybe Gaddafi was not right after all ; maybe we need a committee to study this, and another committee to study what that committee will come up with. Meanwhile, let’s forget that the churches are being bombed every Sunday; and people; Nigerians are being killed in droves by those who are rushing to heavens to accept 50 virgins as a trophy for their successful jihad. Let’s face more serious issues: setting up committees to probe Dana Air mishap, oil subsidy cartel, and how to dialogue with Boko Haram.


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