President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said that the extremist group, Boko Haram is seeking to incite religious crisis in Nigeria by attacking Christians in the north in an attempt to destabilise his administration.
The president who disclosed this in a televised media chat with selected journalists said that “terrorists all over the world have one common agenda: destabilising government.”
“Attacking churches is to instigate religious crisis,” he said.
“They believe that when they attack a church, Christian youths will revolt against Muslim youths. They don’t care about who dies in the process.
“If it doesn’t work, the same Boko Haram will start attacking mosques to instigate Muslim youths to attack Christians. So they change their tactics.”
The president said that he is confident that the security operatives will halt the violence in the North and other parts of the country.
He said the government was open to dialogue if Boko Haram figures identified themselves and make clear demands.
Boko Haram’s insurgency has killed hundreds, mainly in the Northern part of Nigeria.
On June 17, coordinated bomb attacks in three churches in Kaduna state sparked reprisals from Christians who burnt mosques and killed dozens of Muslims.
More rioting occurred in the days following the bombings in the state, while two days of clashes between security forces and Boko Haram members in Damaturu left at least 40 dead.
On Friday, President Jonathan sacked both the National Security Adviser and the Minister of Defence in a bid to strengthen the nation’s security system amid fire of increasing terrorism in the country.
Earlier this year, while speaking during inter-denominational service to mark the 2012 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, President Jonathan alleged that members of the Boko Haram sect had infiltrated his government.
He claimed some of members of the group were in the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of government as well as the police and armed forces.
He said the situation had made it more difficult to combat Boko Haram.
“This is a particular time when the country has major security challenges. There are explosions every day, people are dying and are being killed daily without any reason.
“It is a period we also call on the armed forces, including those that have retired to hang with their colleagues that are still in service and government to see how collectively we can protect our nation.
“I believe we will overcome our immediate challenges. The situation we have in our hands is even worse than the civil war that we fought.
“During the civil war, we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from, you can even know the route they are coming from, you can even know what calibre of weapon they will use and so on.
“But the challenge we have today is more complicated. I remember when I held a meeting with elders from the North-East and some parts of the North-West where the Boko Haram phenomenon is more prevalent; somebody said that the situation is bad that even if one’s son is a member, one will not even know.
“That means that if the person will plant a bomb behind your house you won’t know.
“Some of them are in the executive arm of government; some of them are in the parliamentary/legislative arm of government while some of them are even in the judiciary.
“Some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies. Some continue to dip their hands and eat with you and you won’t even know the person who will point a gun at you or plant a bomb behind your house.”