Christmas is a period of celebration. It is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a season of thanksgiving, sharing and exchange of gifts. It is one of the most widely observed holidays worldwide. Unfortunately, for three years running Nigerian Christians have had to celebrate black Christmas not because of the colour of their skin but because some people decided to paint these global celebration black for them; to rob Nigerian Christians of the true happiness of Christmas; and put them in perpetual tears, sorrow and pains. How long will the blood of innocent Nigerian Christians be used to water Nigeria?
During the December 2010 Christmas Eve, at least 80 people were killed, during series of attacks on churches, around Jos. Boko Haram claims responsibility for the attacks, which trigger deadly clashes between Muslim and Christian youths.
The year 2011 Christmas was also bloody as Boko Haram carried out numerous bomb attacks across Nigeria on Christmas Day, three of which targeted churches, including one at Madalla, near Abuja that killed at least 44 people and wounded 57 others. The blast at St Theresa’s Church in Madalla also killed several people on the street and pulled down the church roof, condemning many of those trapped inside the burning building, including a seven-month-old boy.
This year, 2012, it was another tragic Christmas in Piri community of Potiskum, Yobe State as the same Boko Haram gunmen burst in to the local branch of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) at midnight through a back door, opening fire on the worshipers killing five, including the pastor, and injuring a number of others. They also burnt down the church and houses of Christians living in the area.
A development that Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), described as “…highly disturbing, very barbaric and archaic.” In his words, “It is totally against God and anything that has to do with Him. You wonder how people will go to this extent in the name of God. “Let us not continue to deny that there are jihadists, extremists and Islamists in this country. They are here. Let us agree that it is time for us to take certain steps to bring this madness to an end.”
This annual Christmas gifts of tears, sorrow and blood from Boko Haram that usually leave many Christians dead and the entire Christian community in Nigeria wallowing in hardships, devastations and pains is highly condemnable. It is time for the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan led administration to sum up the required political will to address this annual evil once and for all.
As we celebrate the New Year, Christians in northern Nigeria are advised to be careful and watch out for warning signs and suspicious behavior. While the armed forces and law enforcements are doing everything to defend and protect you, you must do your part. Take safety precautions to protect yourself, family and home serious. Be security conscious and alert. You are your best security!