13 Nov 2014

Nigerian leaders responsible for Boko Haram - Femi Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has lambasted political leaders in the country for the loss of thousands of lives to Boko Haram sect.

Falana said the leaders promoted religion to the detriment of the unity of the people.

Falana spoke on Wednesday at the 7th edition of Emeritus Prof. David Ijalaiye (SAN) and celebration of his 50th year anniversary at bar and academics.

The programme was organised by Equity Chambers of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile –Ife, with Justice Amina Augie chairing the occasion.

Falana cited the building of mosque and church at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa and sponsorship of pilgrims to holy lands by governments at all levels as the root of religious division in the country.
He said, “Boko Haram is fighting and Nigeria is not responding. If we were still under military rule, I would have suspected a sabotage. The problem of Boko Haram is the cause of both Muslims and Christians. We have allowed religion to outshine our reasoning and we now base our fairness on religious ground. There is no law that states that government shall sponsor anybody for religious purposes.

“Nigeria is a secular state, which allows the right to religion. You are allowed to worship the way you like and go to heaven the way you want without force. But in our case, while (ex-dictator, Gen. Ibrahim) Babangida built a mosque, (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo built a church in the Aso Rock Villa and they are sponsoring them with government fund, they appointed Imams and chaplains respectively.

“Every region in Nigeria is currently faced with its own insurgent groups, most of which are allegedly sponsored by government officials; and the challenge is usually that when you sponsor thugs, it will get to a stage when you lose control and that was what happened with the Boko Haram sect.”
Falana said it was embarrassing that President Goodluck Jonathan has constantly been ill advised and unduly commended for his failure to tackle Boko Haram.

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