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Oritsejafor’s comments were echoed by Saidu Dogo, the secretary general of the northern branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), who simply said, “Enough is enough!”
Apparently, some of the followers have received the message as reprisals against Muslims have already begun. In the past several days alone, the Egbesu Fraternity, a southern Nigerian ethnic militia, has given Muslims two weeks to leave the Niger Delta region, while attackers in the southern Nigerian city of Benin burnt a mosque, killing five people and leading to the displacement of over 10,000 Muslims from the city.
It should be noted, however, that Christians aren’t the only ones in Nigeria who are fearful of the threat posed by Boko Haram.
In a recent speech honoring the country’s military dead, President Jonathan warned that Boko Haram presented Nigeria with its “greatest security challenge,” one that is potentially “even worse” than the country’s 1967 Biafra civil war, a conflict which lasted three years and claimed more than a million lives.
Moreover, Jonathan then publicly acknowledged for the first time that the severity of the Boko Haram threat was compounded by the fact the terror group had found a supportive following among Nigerian government and security officials.
Unfortunately, Boko Haram isn’t the only Islamist terror group the Nigerian government has to fear given a newly released UN report that stated “growing concern” about possible linkages between Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
It should be noted that the UN may be the only group unaware that Boko Haram has already acknowledged an alliance with AQIM — as well as Somalia’s al-Shabab — and has credited the two al-Qaeda linked groups with helping it carry out increasingly sophisticated and deadly attacks, such as car bomb attacks and the use of suicide bombers.
Nevertheless, the UN revelations prompted the Nigerian government to close its borders with Chad and Cameroon.
Yet, while Boko Haram may have brought Nigeria to the edge of civil war, violent nationwide protests against the Nigerian government’s January 1 decision to end government fuel subsidies may push the country off the cliff.
Despite being Africa’s top oil producer, government officials have argued that the fuel subsidies, which cost the Nigerian government more than $8 billion a year, are not only economically crippling but could be better used to improve roads and electric power grids, hospitals and schools.
However, the removal of the fuel subsidies led gas prices to instantly double, setting off a storm of protest in a country where most of the population lives on less than $2 a day. To that end, Nigerian unions have launched a nationwide strike while thousands of protesters have clashed in the streets with Nigerian police, leaving several dead and scores wounded.
To date, President Jonathan has not let the public protests sway him into reinstating the fuel subsidies. Of course, as one Western investment banker said, “The government doesn’t have a choice because the fiscal cost associated with the subsidy is unsustainable. It’s going to become unbearable.”
Given a raging Islamist insurgency, Christian genocide, and possible economic collapse, Nigeria may have already reached that point.
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