These gruesome two months without our daughters abducted on April 14 has been like living in hell, the Bishop of the Anglican Communion and leoader of the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF), Bishop Emeritus Emmanuel Kana Mani, said on Saturday.
He said it was also a sad commentary and soul-wreaking that the schoolgirls are still in captivity.
Mani, also advocated prison term for anyone who calls a Christian, “people without faith”, “Arne or Kirdi” as some are quick to call.
The Bishop said it is right time for government of Borno State, leaders of thought and traditional institution and elsewhere in the country to work towards ensuring peaceful coexistence between the adherence of the nation’s two prominent religion.
The Bishop made the declaration during his speech at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, when he led the delegation of the members of the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) on a courtesy visit on Saturday.
Speaking during the courtesy visit, Bishop Mani said, the group was in the palace to pay homage and also to console and condole with the royal father as the deputy chairman of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah over the death of the Emir of Kano, Sarkin Ado Bayero, the Emir of Gombe and the Emir of Gwoza as well other Muslims and Christian Clerics who passed away recently.
He said, as a group, their heart is still grieved and they remained shocked by the failure of the authorities to rescue the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram sect.
He said for over two months now, the families of the abducted Chibok girls, their relations, Borno, and the entire people of Nigeria as well as the international community are pained by the incident and hope that the government will double its effort in the search and rescue the innocent girls and bring them back to their parents.
Mani said now more than ever is the time to allow for unity among the adherents of both Islamic and Christian religions
, he said: “Your royal highness, I recall that you have continued to agitate for the establishment of the Borno State branch of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC). We are therefore, here to also let you know that, if we ever needed NIREC in Borno state, we need it now more than ever before. Only recently I received in my office, the Co-executive Director of the Inter-faith mediation centre Kaduna, on an advocacy visit at the Bishop’s Court. The two directors represent both Islam and Christianity. We understand that they have been working with some selected Muslims and Christians including Clerics and other non-governmental organisations on capacity building in Conflict Management, Mitigation and Reconciliation, as well as drawing up an Alternative Peace Road Map.
“We in NOSCEF have gone up to set up Inter-faith Committee hoping that whenever there is the need to interface between our two religions, which we believe, there is the need to do so, Your royal highness, we should move on and ensure the immediate setting up of the state chapter of NIREC.”
The Bishop said, as a matter of fact, one of the issues that remain of concern to the Christian body particularly in Borno state is the use of the concepts of “ARNE” and “KIRDI ” by some Muslims to refer to Christians. This creates quarrels and fights between adherents of the two religion in buses, markets, schools and other places not mentioned.
“We need to disabuse the minds of our adherents through awareness and enlightenment campaigns. “Arne” or “Kirdi” are people who are faithless.”
He said, in Bauchi state, Kaduna and other states in the north today, calling someone “Arne” is outlawed and the offenders could go to jail, this should be replicated in Borno state for peace and harmony.