November 17, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – The president of the Nigerian bishops' conference said his country's government could defeat the Boko Haram Islamist militant group if it could muster the same political will it found to fight Ebola.

In a Nov. 6 talk at the Church of Holy Name in Manchester, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria, suggested the government could end the group's attacks on Christians and civilians if it wanted to.

"Since the Nigerian government is successfully fighting the Ebola disease, it can equally, fight the religious fundamentalism which threatens the very soul of Nigeria," he said.

Most Muslims in Nigeria do not support Boko Haram, which has bombed or torched dozens of churches and public spaces since 2009, he said.

"We want the Nigerian government to stop the activities of this military group, which continues to create mayhem, to create chaos and anarchy in parts of Nigeria," Kaigama said.

"We want the government to help the people who have been displaced so that they can return to their homes," he added, "homes taken over by this this militant group."

Kaigama said the Church also wanted the Nigerian military to find and liberate more than 200 female students abducted by Boko Haram earlier this year.