The Federal Government has raised the alarm that Boko Haram insurgents are attacking Christians to divide the country.
It said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has no systematic campaign to persecute Christians in Nigeria.
It said since the insurgents were feeling hurt by troops, they have opted to be targeting Christians to cause chaos.
It pleaded with religious leaders not to fall for the war antics of Boko Haram.
It however explained that troops were winning the war including the recent killing of the Chief Judge of Boko Haram.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed made the position of the government known at a briefing in Abuja on the current security challenges facing the nation.
He said: “Recall that Boko Haram insurgents didn’t use to discriminate between Christians and Muslims when they carried out their attacks in the past. Churches and mosques, Christians and Muslims were attacked without discrimination.
“When they targeted motor parks, the religion, gender, ethnicity or political leaning of the victims didn’t matter,
as long as they inflicted the maximum damage to lives and property.
“But in the wake of a renewed onslaught by our tireless military against Boko Haram and their ISWAP allies in recent times, the
insurgents have apparently changed their strategy:
“They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos.
“Apparently, they have realised how emotive and divisive religion can be, when exploited by unscrupulous persons.
” Lest I am misunderstood, let me repeat: the insurgents, who delude themselves as Muslims whereas they are nothing more than blood-thirsty, rapacious killers who subscribe to no religion, have recently started targeting Christians with a view to sowing the seed of confusion between the two great religions.
“This did not in any way signify that they have stopped attacking Muslims. But they seem to now have a deliberate policy of attacking Christians.
“The attack on a Christian village, Kwarangulum, near Chibok; the killing of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika local government in Adamawa, Lawan Andimi; the killing of Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a student who was also a member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) and the killing of 11 Christians on Christmas eve, etc, fit into this new strategy.
“Some have misinterpreted this to insinuate a systematic campaign to persecute Christians in Nigeria.
“This is absurd, and very unfair to the men and women who are daily battling the insurgents.
“The truth is that, having run out of options in their battle against Nigeria, the insurgents are desperate to stay relevant, to stay in the news, hence
their cowardly and senseless strategy targeting Christians, as part of their increasing resort to the use of Guerilla tactics.”
Mohammed pleaded with religious leaders not to buy into Boko Haram agenda.
He added:” We want to therefore appeal to our religious leaders, both Christians and Muslims, not to fall for this desperate move by the insurgents, not to allow them to divide us as a people and weaken our resolve to deal the insurgents the mortal blow.
“In addition, we must also give our unalloyed support to the military, which has also upped the ante against the insurgents.
“The resort to the increasing use of Guerilla tactics by the insurgents is a sign of weakness on their part. Contrary to the belief in certain quarters, these insurgents are getting weaker by the day, thanks to the gallantry of our men and women in uniform.”
The Minister insisted that troops were doing well in curtailing Boko Haram insurgency.
He said:” The renewed vigour by the military in their war against the insurgents is paying off handsomely, judging by the victories they have recorded in recent times. These include:
” The killing of top ISWAP leaders at two separate meeting venues at Marte Local Government in Borno State a few days ago
– A similarly successful attack against the leadership of Boko Haram in Alafa Yagayaga in Borno earlier this month
“The killing of Boko Haram Chief Judge in Lake Chad
” The in-fighting in the leadership cadre of Boko Haram is a fallout of the pressure on the insurgents by the military
“The continued foiling by the military of many attacks by Boko Haram
– The continued decimation of the insurgents across the North-east-
“The inability of the insurgents to hold any territory or carry out the kind of spectacular attacks they used to carry out in the past,