Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said on Sunday that the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram, was targeting churches in order to incite a religious war that will only serve to destabilize government.
In a publicly televised media chat, President Jonathan said: “Terrorists all over the world have one common agenda: destablising government”.
He says Boko Haram is no different and the sect will stop at nothing to destabilise the current government. He described how the sect had gone from targeting government institutions and security agencies to now focusing on Churches, and said it was all in a bid to bring down the government.
“Attacking churches is to instigate religious crisis,” Jonathan said. “They believe that when they attack a church, Christian youths will revolt against Muslim youths.
“If it doesn’t work, the same Boko Haram will start attacking mosques to instigate Muslim youths to attack Christians,” Jonathan said.
He assured that the government is working to put an end to the violence perpetrated by the sect. As to whether the government will
Jonathan however pledged that Nigeria would halt the violence. He said the government was open to dialogue, but insists the sect must come out of hiding first.
“Government will not dialogue with a faceless group,” Jonathan said during Sunday’s Presidential Media Chat.
Defending Brazil trip
Jonathan also defended his decision to go to Brazil even as the north witnessed heightened violence. He was widely criticised for attending the Rio summit, which many said showed the administration’s lack of commitment to fighting terrorism.
President Jonathan said cancelling the Brazil trip over increased terrorist activity in the country would have meant a sign of weakness on the part of the government and a victory for terrorists.
“The day you hear that the President of Nigeria cannot travel because of Boko Haram, then we are finished,” Jonathan said.