World churches body head urges Nigeria to protect citizens from Boko Harum

(Photo: REUTERS / Afolabi Sotunde)"#Bring Back Our Girls" campaigners participate in a lamentation parade, as more towns in Nigeria come under attack from Boko Haram in Abuja, November 3, 2014. Violence in Nigeria's northeast has been on the rise since the government announced a ceasefire with the rebels nearly two weeks ago to pursue talks in neighboring Chad aimed at freeing more than 200 girls kidnapped in April. Boko Haram's leader said the girls had been "married off" to his fighters, contradicting an earlier announcement of a deal to release them.

The Nigerian government needs to take immediate steps to protect its people who daily face terror attacks by groups like Boko Harum, the head of the World Council of Churches has said.

WCC general secretary, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, said in a statement he is profoundly dismayed at the recent attacks on the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) and the Kulp Bible College, along with other Christian institutions Nigeria.

The attacks in the last week of October in Nigeria are linked to the militant group Boko Haram, which claims to carry out it terror actions in the name of Islam, according to media reports.

"It is vital that the government take immediate and proactive steps to protect all the people of Nigeria and work strategically to defend them against such attacks," said Tveit.

The government also needs to support "practically those who have recently experienced these atrocities," the WCC leader said in a November 5 statement.

Tveit noted that the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria is a member of the WCC and the church grouping wants to "offer support and solidarity to the whole people of Nigeria, and its government."

The WCC general secretary said he appreciated efforts by the Christian Council of Nigeria in working with other organizations to provide aid to people fleeing the violence.

A large number of the local population fled to the border of neighboring Cameroon in order to escape the violence.

Tveit also highlighted the plight of more than 200 school girls who were abducted six months ago and are still held captive, and according to a television report recording a Boko Harum leader the young girls have been "married off."

"We believe this to be totally unacceptable. We call upon the government to continue to work for their well-being and speedy release," he said.

EYN president Dr Samuel Dante Dali had said in a message, "We need urgent help from the international community if the global community can have compassion on us.

"The future of Nigeria is getting darker and darker day by day, but Nigerian political leadership do not seem to take the suffering of the people very seriously.

"The government of Nigeria with all its security seems very weak and helpless in handling the crisis."

Copyright © 2014 Ecumenical News