The head of a UK charity has echoed calls by the leader of Nigeria’s Catholics for the country’s government to redouble efforts to crackdown on Islamist terrorists. Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK national director of Aid to the Church in Need, said: “The government of Nigeria needs to take urgent action to stop the spiralling violence aimed at Christians and other vulnerable groups in the country.
“Christians around the world are shocked and sickened by the repeated attacks which – according to the Nigerian government’s own statistics – have claimed the lives of more than 1,500 Christians.”
His remarks follow Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos’s condemnation of the murder of more than 40 students at university accommodation in Mubi, north-eastern Nigeria last week (2 October). The attack was blamed on Islamist group Boko Haram.
Archbishop Kaigama, the president of the Nigerian Bishops Conference, will be coming to the UK later this month as a guest of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. While in London, he will address UK parliamentarians and speak to ACN’s benefactors about the ongoing offensive against Christians and others in Nigeria. Archbishop Kaigama has been critical of the government’s response to the terrorist threat.
Speaking to ACN at the end of September, Archbishop Kaigama said: “We are very unhappy with the government’s record on tackling the violence. The government and the security services do not seem to be able to find out who is responsible for these attacks.
I do not feel that they have got to the root of the matter. Unless the individuals are identified, we will continue to go round in circles and the violence will occur again and again. The government is not on top of the security situation.”
The archbishop stressed that Christians would not be cowed by the continuing violence. He said: “No matter what, the people will not give into Boko Haram and other extremists. They have a courage and a determination to go back to church regardless of the dangers.”
Archbishop Kaigama will be keynote speaker at ACN’s annual Westminster Event on Saturday, 20 October along with Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria.
Archbishop Kaigama will update the charity’s benefactors about the crisis facing Christians and others in Nigeria and there will be reports on how ACN is providing urgent assistance, especially pastoral support.