Talking to the Living Church, Canon AkinTunde Popoola, the Archbishop's spokesperson and communications director, is backpedaling on that highly threatening language:
A spokesman for Archbishop Akinola repudiated suggestions the Archbishop’s earlier call for restraint was a coded message of violence.First off, I have to agree that I have not seen much in the Nigerian press condemning Akinola's choice of words -- but I have also failed to see much in the press to mention the fact that more Muslims died in the south in response to the deaths of Christians in the north than actually died in the north. Indeed, Akinola's call for two days of national mourning makes no mention of the 80-100 deaths in Onitsha.
"The Church does not believe any true worshipper can go on to kill or maim another human being out of anger. It is a pity" that some in the West "are seeing incitement," Canon AkinTunde Popoola told The Living Church. The charge of inciting religious violence "has not been mentioned in Nigeria," he said.
Church leaders in Nigeria shape public attitudes and debate, Canon Popoola said, asserting that Archbishop Akinola "has to sound tough as it was becoming increasingly difficult to tell the youths to turn the other ear while they see him on TV smiling and talking with the Muslim leadership. The question on the streets was, 'are the Christians been sold out by their leadership'?" [emphasis mine]
Second, is Popoola really suggesting that the language in the statement was just PR intended to harden his image among Christian youths, while at the same time claiming that that same language had nothing to do with the violence?