Unabated killing of civilians across the country by the Islamist extremist, Boko Haram, is assuming a “frightening” scale, reminiscent of the prelude of Nigeria’s bloody civil war, the House of Representatives warned Thursday.
Lawmakers passed a resolution urging all leaders, Nigerians, of all ethnic, religious and political leanings, to rise and speak against the group’s deadly acts that have claimed more than 500 lives.
The group has maintained a loose network of members since materializing three years back, evolving new tactics and targets, adopting different spokespersons, and leaving the Nigerian government frustrated in pinning a face to its operations.
Late Tuesday, as the House debated its motion on the sect, a fresh statement emerged from a purported representative of the group denying the series of attacks on Christians and churches, particularly disowning the Christmas day bombing and the three-day ultimatum for southerners to leave the north.
A spokesman, Abul Qaqa, said they were fighting a “just cause” against security agencies.
“Our prophet told us, do not attack the innocent, women, children and the old, only fight back in self defence, this is the teaching of our prophet and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Mr. Qaqa was quoted as saying.
The House condemned the increasing attacks and urged an end to “panicky migrations” in response to threats from the group.
It also called for urgent government measures to restore adequate security to the nation.
“The signs of war are ominous and the development must therefore be condemned. Meaningful development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility,” said Minority Whip, Samson Osagie, who led the motion.
He added: “Criminal tendencies have risen to an alarming proportion to the extent that people no longer have respect for the sanctity of human life. Our dear country Nigeria must be returned back from the near state of lawlessness and its people reunited for any meaningful development to take place.”
Approving the motion, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, said “Boko Haram is not related to Islam, which is a religion of peace. What is happening clearly demonstrates that some did not understand the real teachings of the religion they profess.”