Purge Yourselves Of Siege Mentality, SGF Mustapha Tells Northern Christians


BY CHAMBERLAIN ODEY, JOS – Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, on Monday advised Northern Christians “to purge themselves of siege mentality”, adding that Boko Haram’s attacks were not targeted at churches but the country.
Speaking in Jos at a two-day Peace Summit on Sustainable Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria as a Panacea for Development: the Role Of
Religious Christian Leaders, Mustapha pointed out that for a long time the Church in the region has been held back by this self-defeatist mentality, emphasizing that a dummy has been imbued in the minds of the Church congregation that there is an agenda to “Islamise the region”, with no Christian seeking to know whether there is, and there can be a Christian agenda to proselytize the unbelievers and the Muslims.
Noting that nothing can prevail against the Church in Nigeria, he urged the Christian congregation to
advance the cause and interest of the Church and protect even unbelievers, and called on all to note that insurgency as currently orchestrated by Boko Haram, is directed at the state, that is Nigeria,
not the Church.
Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Chief Innocent Audu Ogbeh disclosed that 72% of the total volume of Nigeria’s cash in circulation is in the hands of people and businesses within Lagos State alone.
Explaining why the northern region of Nigeria must move beyond peace talks to business and investment summits, Ogbeh noted that with an
insignificant part of the total land mass of the country, in a country with a population of about two hundred million, Lagos state with a population of about 22 million only controls a greater chunk of the
country’s total currency in circulation, while the rest of the country shares control of the remaining 28 per cent as a result of their summary economic backwardness.
He pointed out that the region is plagued by abject poverty, and this contributes to the vulnerability of the region to sectarian crises, and urged the leaders of the zone to work towards youth and women empowerment to step up economic activities in the region to increase the revenue that accrues to, and circulate in the region.
In his own remarks at the two-day summit holding at the instance of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, of the nineteen states of Northern Nigeria, the Minister of Sport and Youth Development, Solomon
Dalung, called on Christians in the region to break away from a “siege mentality” and do away with lamentations as these cannot help the Church to grow in the face of other challenges and forces within the Nigeria state. He said until Christians in the region learn to act and spread the word and propagate the Gospel, the Church in Northern
Nigeria will capitulate to the same forces that extinguished it in North Africa and Lebanon.
Mr. Steve Ocheni, Minister of State, Labour, advised the congregation in the region to be guided by the admonition of ‘love your neighbour as
thy self’, noting that if all can abide by this divine rule there will always be peace. Ocheni said once people accommodate one another, the chances for conflicts will be zero, noting that technological and
economic development can only thrive in an atmosphere of peace.
In a goodwill message to the occasion, the national Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, who was represented by Reverend
Joseph Wushishi, called on the Federal Government to do everything possible to restore calm and peace in all troubled areas in the country, and charged the summit to ensure that the event throws up a paradigm for enduring peace, as he hopes that this one is a preface to an interfaith summit.
The Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, in his goodwill message harped on the non-negotiable place of peace as basic
to all positive human developments, and called on all elected and high public office holders to exalt their Christian faith in their public conduct without necessarily oppressing others.
In a welcome address, Reverend Dr Yakubu Pam, Chairman of CAN, Northern Region, and convener of the summit, said, “If the North must develop, there is need for closer working relationship with different
groups, including the security agencies in order to catch up with the pace of development in the southern part of the country”.
Declaring the Summit opened, Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, said, “We have concentrated efforts in establishing the vital
nexus that will help us in identifying the key roles we have as a government, in driving the peace process on the Plateau through diverse approaches which will help us consolidate on the gains we have made so far”.
Holding at the Crest Hotels and Gardens, Jos, the summit will close Tuesday, August 28.

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