President Goodluck Jonathan told Christians gathered at a church in Abuja, the nation’s capital that “the church is one of the main targets” of terrorist attacks by the Islamist group Boko Haram, but “if the idea of Boko Haram is to stop Nigerians from worshiping God, they will not succeed.”
Boko Haram carried out several attacks over Christmas, including Christmas Eve attacks on two churches and the slaughter of 15 Christians in the village of Musari, but security agencies suppressed other planned attacks on Christmas Day and during the Christmas holiday, Jonathan said.
He added that the government would do everything possible to curtail the activities of Boko Haram in the new year.
“With your persistent prayer we shall defeat them,” he said.
The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans has been urging the U.S. to label Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization, a move that could hurt its funding and support.