Lai Mohammed, minister of information, says Boko Haram is targeting Christians in an attempt to trigger a religious war in the country.
Recently, the insurgents killed Lawan Andimi, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika, Adamawa state, and Ropvil Dalep, a student of the University of Maiduguri and a member of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) among others in attacks perceived to be against Christians.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Mohammed said the insurgents have now realised how divisive religion could be when exploited.
The minister said although Boko Haram has also not stopped attacking Muslims, it seems to now “have a deliberate policy of attacking Christians.”
According to him, this strategy is coming after a renewed onslaught by “our tireless military against Boko Haram and their ISWAP allies in recent times.”
“They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos,” he said.
“Apparently, they have realized how emotive and divisive religion can be, when exploited by unscrupulous persons.
“Lest I am misunderstood, let me repeat: the insurgents, who delude themselves as Muslims whereas they are nothing more than blood-thirsty, rapacious killers who subscribe to no religion, have recently started targeting Christians with a view to sowing the seed of confusion between the two great religions.
“This did not in any way signify that they have stopped attacking Muslims. But they seem to now have a deliberate policy of attacking Christians. Some have misinterpreted this to insinuate a systematic campaign to persecute Christians in Nigeria.
“This is absurd, and very unfair to the men and women who are daily battling the insurgents.”
The minister appealed to religious leaders not to fall for the tactics of the insurgents.
He said the “renewed vigour” by the military in the war against the insurgents “is paying off handsomely.”
“These include; the killing of top ISWAP leaders at two separate meeting venues at Marte local government in Borno state a few days ago,” Mohammed said.
“A similarly successful attack against the leadership of Boko Haram in Alafa Yagayaga in Borno earlier this month. The killing of Boko Haram chief Judge in Lake Chad.
“The in-fighting in the leadership cadre of Boko Haram is a fallout of the pressure on the insurgents by the military.”