By: HENRY CHUKWURAH and PAUL OSUYI, Asaba
Moved by increasing threats of a full-scale war in the country, former Biafran war leader, Col Joseph Achuzie, has advised all parties to the persistent bloodletting in the North to have a re-think because of the destructive effects of war.
“As somebody who has seen war, war is not a tea party. When one is shot and is dead, the person is permanently dead and those left behind are the ones that would suffer the loss of a relation.”Col Achuzie, a former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and current National Chairman of Igbozurume, an Igbo socio-cultural organization, gave the advice in an exclusive interview with Sunday Sun in Asaba during which he also challenged Christian leaders to fashion out a new mode of worship for Christians that would enable them fellowship on Sundays without going to church, especially in the North.
He told the two sides to the current violence in parts of the North to lay down their weapons and dialogue over their continued co-existence. “For me as a person, I would ask both sides, the Jihadists and Christians, to down their weapons. First, let the Jihadists re-think and decide whether they want to live side by side with their Christian brothers because no one is an island, no one religion is an island on its own.
“God who created us allowed both Christians and Muslims to occupy this territory called Nigeria. But rather than annihilate and kill one group, I would advise each group to stay on their side till sanity returns, because what is going on is worse than a mere dream – killing because of religion and belief.“Who has ever been to heaven or hell to come and tell us what is there? Everyone is acting on speculation. You don’t go killing people because your belief centres on speculations on what you think you will get at the end of time.”
On the wanton killing of Christian worshippers in churches in some parts of the North, Col Achuzie warned that Christians from the South-East and the South-South states might be encouraged to return to their homes and avoid going to churches on Sundays, “if the leadership of the churches refused to call a spade a spade and go on at the pulpit to talk to their congregation and find solution to what is besetting them”.
The former Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo chief scribe urged church leaders to, “tell us exactly whether they want the churches to continue or we as natives, we go to tents like the ancient Christians, hold fellowship in our houses because it is when they start bombing houses, looking for Christians that we will arm ourselves to defend ourselves”.
In his words, “The onus is on the pastors, the bishops, the archbishops and the leaders of the church to tell their congregation while standing on the pulpit not just asking for tithes and Sunday collections because they must bear in mind that if we all withdraw from going to churches so that we wouldn’t be killed indiscriminately no more tithes, no more Sunday collections.”