President Jonathan asks for calm
President Goodluck Jonathan appeared on television over the weekend calling on all Nigerians to “eschew bitterness and acrimony to live together in harmony and peace.”
The call comes after further attacks on Christians by the Islamist group Boko Haram which has killed around 80 people in recent attacks. The group, which is suspected of having links with al Qaeda, has told Christians to leave the Muslim dominated north.
Whilst the south remains calm, Muslims have started leaving to return to the north, fearing Christian reprisals for the killings in the north.
The crisis for the government has been heightened by the recent rise in petrol prices which has made it harder for some people to travel. There is a lot of anger about the increase, even though it has been justified as necessary to improve investment opportunities.
The president has put in place a state of emergency in a number of the states that are affected by violence, and more recently the army has introduced a curfew. The latest concern, though, is that the group may have infiltrated key areas of the administration and military.
One Christian cleric is reported as describing the situation as similar to that which led to the civil war of 1967 and which is believed to have killed around one million people.