“Dialogue is impossible with people who kill and destroy in God’s name,” said Ignatius Kaigama, the archbishop of Jos and President of the Nigerian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
“This has nothing to do with dialogue because you are dealing with an irrational group, which kills people whenever they want,” Kaigama told Vatican Radio.
The archbishop said that Islamic terror group Boko Haram kills both Christians and Muslims “indiscriminately.”
“There cannot be dialogue in this situation,” he said.
Three weeks before the Nigeria’s presidential elections, Boko Haram has launched a new, violent offensive. Islamist militias have taken over several villages in the northeast, committing more atrocities and killing an unknown number of victims.
Kaigama’s brother bishop, Oliver Dashe Doeme, has been insisting on the need for a western military intervention in order to effectively put an end to Boko Haram.
Since the Islamist group is strategically superior, better trained and better armed than the Nigerian army, the Nigerian government has been incapable of standing up to Boko Haram forces, and the only viable option remaining is recourse to the West.
According to Bishop Doeme: “The West should bring in security – land forces to contain and beat back Boko Haram.” He added that a “concerted military campaign is needed by the West to crush Boko Haram.”
In his interview, Archbishop Kaigama echoed Doeme’s assessment of the situation.
“We hope that the international community will help us,” he said, “although prominent Nigerian officials have said they do not need the help of the international community.”
“But in this place people are still dying, so if the Nigerian government cannot adequately control the situation of violence, I think there is need of international assistance,” he said.
The Archbishop has very little confidence in Nigeria’s political leaders, who, he said, “simply hoard wealth and do not serve the people.”
“That’s why there is great suffering,” he said, “because insecurity is widespread and so is corruption. Politics is not being used for its intended purpose.”
“Unfortunately, many of our politicians do not put the common good and the interest of Nigeria in the first place,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter: @tdwilliamsrome.