Nigeria should not rely on U.S. to solve Boko Haram crisis- Anglican Primate

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh
The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh

The U.S. on Wednesday declared Boko Haram a terrorist organisation.

The Primate of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh, has said the recent U.S. government declaration on Boko Haram was not an immediate solution to the insurgency in the country.

Mr. Okoh said this while briefing journalists on the forthcoming conference of the church tagged: ‘Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON)’.

The primate advised the Federal Government not to solely depend on external support in its fight against insurgency, saying that it was a Nigerian problem that required a Nigerian solution.

“Nigeria should not depend on what America is saying or what America is thinking. Is it not the same America that was saying that it is poverty or hunger or unemployment that is causing it?

“So, Nigeria should not depend on what America is saying; the problem is a Nigerian problem; our government should find a solution to what is our problem,” he said.

The U.S. government on November 13 labeled the Boko Haram sect, as well as the Ansaru, an international terrorist organisation.

Mr. Okoh said that government should not relinquish its power to manage it internal issues to an external authority that had shown very little commitment to help address the challenge.

He said that government’s submission to the whims of the U.S. government would mean that Nigeria lacked the capacity and force to deal with its internal crisis.

On the proposed national dialogue, the primate said that the entire processes that would lead to the conference and its aftermath should be subjected to the will of the people. He said that the church had no particular interest other than what would be of benefit to all Nigerians.

Mr. Okoh disagreed with skeptics that the conference would trigger the country’s disintegration, noting that it would rather advance the cause of the nation’s development.

“Opinions are divided that since the government has the National Assembly there and it still believes that there is need for national dialogue that there may be no need to take it to National Assembly to decide.

“Since it decided to have a national dialogue independent of the national assembly, then the issue should be decided in a referendum by the whole Nigeria.

“My opinion will rather support that the people who are speaking should be given the opportunity to finish the issue,” he said.

Mr. Okoh said that government should not dictate the agenda for the national discourse, noting that it would make it an exercise in futility.

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He said that government should not nurse any fears of a possible disintegration of the country but should give Nigerians the opportunity to freely discuss the future of the nation.

On the forthcoming DIVCCON, Mr. Okoh said that important issues affecting the church and the society would feature prominently at the conference.

He said that the church was worried about the decline in morality in many homes and the raging crime rate in the society, noting that attempts would be made to suggest solutions at the conference.

He said no fewer than 6,000 delegates from Nigeria and other countries were expected to attend the conference.

The conference will hold between November 18 and 23 at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.


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