The bridge between silence and acquiescence is a short one borne on the pillars of complicity and supported by rails which nod in a desired direction. In times of crises, words no matter how hollow could turn out to be vindicated as not confirming a position one would otherwise repudiate.
The Christian Association of Nigeria is one angry, anxious body now. It‘s anger is directly chiefly at Boko Haram and the government, the latter of which it has firmly in its crosshairs. CAN‘s rage is stoked by the insecurity which is threatening to tear Nigeria apart.
CAN‘s relentless criticism of the federal government over the killings of Nigerians and destruction of their properties have brought the body into sharp disagreement with the Presidency which boasts some staff who profess the Christian faith. It has been one long bitter quarrel and it is poised to rage on until Boko Haram lays down its murderous arms.
Since Boko Haram morphed into the nightmare it currently is just over a decade ago, CAN has felt the full force of its terrorist rage.
The terrorist group has hardly taken particular care to target only Christians, but its murderous rampage has ensured that Christians have been cut down in their numbers, their homes razed.
Churches have been burnt to the ground and their pastors slaughtered in the most gruesome of manners. All these have been very bitter pills for CAN to swallow. It is feeling a lot of responsibility at the moment, the responsibility to identify with its members.
It is bearing some of that responsibility by speaking out. It has been relentless in calling out people and situations it feels can and should do better as the terrorists continue to wage a relentless war.
It is out of this responsibility that it has been increasingly calling out the Presidency. This of course has not gone down well with the defenders of the Presidency who have inevitably been drawn into an ugly war of words with CAN.
Each side in this war of words and wits between CAN and the Presidency has its detractors as well as its supporters. CAN‘s detractors, some of who come from the Christian fold argue that there have been situations in the past where the body could and should have been more forceful in its words and actions.
These people argue that CAN has in the past been responsible for selling its birthright for porridge. They further argue that CAN‘s relentless criticism of the Presidency over the security situation of the country has something to do with the fact that the president is not a Christian and the Vice President who is not only a Christian but a pastor has been way too indifferent to its plight.
The detractors of the Presidency comb through the President‘s faith to accuse him of not doing enough to protect Christians because he is Muslim.
They also say that he has in the past made comments that have unwittingly emboldened those now threatening to overrun Nigeria. The Presidency has also been accused of bristling at any and all criticisms.
It is noteworthy that in a recent interview the president came out to say that 90% of all those affected by the security situation in the country were Muslims.
Daily, Boko Haram continues its quest to annihilate Nigerians. The group professes that it is carrying out a campaign that is Islamic.
In a country of fraught religious tensions such as Nigeria, the fabric of religious relations has been frayed even further by its activities. Inevitably, suspicion between the two main religions in the country has only soared.
But Boko Haram is not a menace that can be confronted by a divided house. The terrorist group has shown itself to be ruthless and cold-blooded. To halt it in its tracks, Nigerians must put religious differences aside and confront the monster threatening their collective future.