Failure is not an option for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh told a congregation in Anambra State celebrating the dedication of a new church. Nigerians must act now to stop Boko Haram the primate of All Nigeria said.
“Our people cannot afford to run anywhere. We cannot leave for Boko Haram. We must stay here, repair it and make Nigeria good,” the archbishop told the congregation of St Peter’s Anglican Church in Umuchu, Anambra State.
On Saturday 3 January 2015 Boko Haram attacked an army base near the village of Baga on Lake Chad in the country’s far northeast. The base, which was garrisoned by Nigerian troops at the time of the attack, served as the headquarters of the multinational task force for troops from Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria patrolling the area.
Initial reports from the Nigerian press state the camp and the neighboring town were burnt to the ground with hundreds missing or killed. Some civilians attempted to flee the fighting by taking to boats to cross Lake Chad, but overcrowding caused several to capsize causing further fatalities.
Boko Haram seeks to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria and has waged war on Christians, demanding their conversion or expulsion from Nigeria. Muslims who do not share their ideology have also been targeted for attack. Last months bombs exploded during Friday prayers in Northern Nigeria’s largest mosque in Kano, killing several dozen worshippers.
Nigeria goes to the polls next month to elect a new president and parliament – the inability of the state to defeat Boko Haram and the collapse of government control in the Northeast is a central topic of debate in the run up to voting.