Guest blogger Alex Thurston says the harder pushback from the Christian Association of Nigeria is worrisome, because it could lead to even broader inter-religious violence in Nigeria.
Boko Haram, the north Nigerian extremist group, has recently escalated its terror campaign with a string of deadly strikes against government and civilian targets. To combat the rising threat, the West must embrace conservative Muslims in the region as potential allies.
The attack could be retaliation for Christmas Day attacks on Nigeria's churches, heightening concerns about religious violence between Muslims and Christians.
Nigeria's Boko Haram says it would be willing to negotiate with the government if the mediator was the Sultan of Sokoto, a critic of government tactics against the militant group.
Guest blogger Alex Thurston writes that economic grievances are likely to galvanize protests in several sub-Saharan African countries this year, as they are right now in Nigeria.
For many Nigerians, their state governors matter more to their daily life than the president or parliamentarians.
Nigeria's incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan received an endorsement from a prominent northern politician that could be critical for the southern-born candidate in the April 9 presidential election.