Jos Bombing: Politicians 'Fuel Nigeria Unrest'

Nigerian faith leaders have accused politicians of fuelling a recent upsurge in sectarian violence in which 80 people have died.

In a joint news conference, Muslim and Christian leaders said politicians were using religion to whip up trouble around the city of Jos. Bombs exploded in several areas of Jos on Christmas Eve, and Christian and Muslim youths clashed two days later.

Nigerians are due to hold national and local elections in April. Local politicians are frequently accused of trying to exploit communal tensions for their gain.

At Tuesday's news conference, Christian Association of Nigeria head Ayo Oritsejafor, and Nigerian Muslims' spiritual leader Sultan Mohammadu Sa'ad Abubakar made a joint statement criticising politicians. Mr Oritsejafor said some politicians ""know the weaknesses of the people"".

""They know how to manipulate their beliefs and they know the... parts of the country where people react very easily,"" he said. ""Some of them are creating these kind of problems to make Nigeria ungovernable.""The sultan accused politicians of a ""failure of leadership"".

""If the government in that area is... purposeful enough... they will find answers to these problems,"" he said.

Officials from Nigeria's emergency management agency (Nema) said at least 80 people had died and more than 190 had been injured in the recent outbreak of violence around Jos.

A radical Islamist sect reportedly said they carried out the Christmas Eve bombings."