AFRICA: NIGERIA : BISHOPS CALL FOR RETURN OF ORDER
MAIDUGURI, November 11, 2011 (CISA) -A catholic Bishop in Nigeria is urging the country’s government to beef up security and to restore law and order following a series of attacks on several churches since March this year.
Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri Diocese said, “We should be given freedom to worship. The Government should ensure this.”
The bishop is blaming renegade politicians who he said are fuelling religious hatred. He said that the politicians are to blame for bloodshed and violence in northern Nigeria.
Bishop Doeme said local politicians were exploiting the region’s religious divisions to “whip up” anger in a bid to destabilize the region and unseat the government.
He told a Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), “Some politicians, I am unable to say which ones, in this region are responsible for what has happened. They are using Islamist groups for their own interests.”
Bishop Doeme said, “…Religion is a very sensitive issue and the politicians can whip up hatred and suspicion very easily.”
“Part of the objective is to push the Christians away and to enforce Sharia (Islamic law) properly. Forcible conversion to Islam is what they seek,” said the bishop.
He added that youth in the region were easily preyed by Islamist groups because of high levels of poverty, poor education and unemployment.
The cleric also blamed the police saying they have failed in their duty to protect the people.
Bishop Doeme was speaking on Monday, November 7, when he told ACN that the region’s government had “let the people down” by allowing a serious breach of security.
Nearly all Christians have fled Damaturu the capital of one of Nigeria’s 36 states following the weekend attacks that left more than 100 dead.
The Islamist group Boko Haram, which means Western education is forbidden, admitted that it was behind the attacks in Damaturu, adding that it planned further violence.