Montreal, Monday May 13th, 2013 – Last week, on May 7, we reported the statements made by His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan Archbishop of Abuja, in his recent speech delivered before the Comity of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament in Brussels and where he said the following: “Growing corruption and religious violence jeopardize the West African country of Nigeria.” This week, Msgr. Stephen Dami Mamza from the diocese of Yola accused the government of president President Goodluck Jonathan, for fear of losing crucial votes in the next elections scheduled to be held in 2015.
This northern Nigerian bishop says the government is lacking the will to crackdown on Boko Haram and other militant groups wreaking havoc across the country. Msgr Dami Mamza declared that the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime was fearful of upsetting voters sympathetic to extremists.
Speaking in an interview with a representative of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Bishop Dami Mamza said that a state of emergency should be declared in north-east Nigeria and the region put under direct military control.
The bishop was speaking after 55 people were killed in Bama, Borno state on Tuesday May 7, when Boko Haram carried out a series of attacks and burned to the ground a police station, a military barracks and government buildings. “This outbreak of violence shows that rural areas are vulnerable to attack because there is no security. In fact it shows that in areas in the north-east outside the centre of Maiduguri security is getting worse,” the bishop added.
Bishop Dami Mamza, whose Yola diocese in Adamawa state borders Borno, said that the government had the capacity to assert its authority but feared a backlash from supporters of extremists.
The bishop said: “I thought that by now, with security being in place, attacks such as in Borno would no longer have happened.
Attacking the government’s record on tackling Boko Haram, he said: “The problem is that the government does not take serious measures against Boko Haram.” Even the President is focused on the 2015 elections. If he puts in place measures to control Boko Haram he will lose support from northerners.”
He said the only feasible option was a miltary-led government in Maiduguri state.
He was speaking after suspected Boko Haram militants carried out an attack Wednesday 8 May close to Yola Cathedral where two people – including a street trader – were shot dead and another person was injured.The bishop added that the growing military capability of Boko Haram and the group’s refusal to negotiate with the state authorities represented a fundamental threat to the rule of law. “Do we allow Boko Haram to take over the government? We can’t allow them to take over the government.”