Boko Haram members want to dialogue with FG, says CCC
The Centre for Crisis Communication a non-governmental organisation on Tuesday said that some persons claiming to be Boko Haram members had approached it for dialogue to end insurgency in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the centre, retired Air Commodore Yusuf Anas, disclosed this when he briefed newsmen on sundry national issues, including cattle rustling and National Assembly crisis in Abuja.
Anas, who did not reveal the identities of the persons, said the centre strongly believed in their renewed request for dialogue because of several telephone conversions with them.
He said the centre was encouraged by a recent statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari on government’s willingness for dialogue to listen to the group.
The executive secretary said the centre was working on authenticating the proposal, stressing that it would facilitate a meeting with relevant government agencies to finalise the process.
“The recent statement by President Muhammadu Buhari on government’s readiness to negotiate with credible members of the sect has rekindled the hope for dialogue.
“The centre views this gesture as a good one as it has opened a window of opportunity for dialogue for those insurgents that are willing and ready to lay down their arms.
“This position is predicated on calls made to this centre by some members of the Boko Haram, requesting for genuine and comprehensive dialogue that can end the crisis.
“I can state here that we have received such calls and these people have indicated interest to dialogue with authorities on the possible end to this insurgency,’’ he said.
He said the centre was in support of dialogue that was genuine, comprehensive and result-oriented.
Anas said the new position had become imperative in view of the fact that military options alone could not resolve the issue.
“The centre, however, suggests that such dialogue should be done with every sense of caution and responsibility, bearing in mind disappointment in previous attempts at negotiations.
“Considering the unspeakable atrocities which the group has visited on Nigeria and Nigerians, this option is no doubt a hard sell.
“Nevertheless, the centre will continue to support and encourage all efforts toward bringing insurgency to an end in our country,” he said.
On the lingering National Assembly crisis, the Executive Secretary appealed to all the contending individuals, groups or parties to “sheath their swords’’ in the national interest.
He said the crisis had the potential to plunge the nation into further chaos by adding more problems to a polity that had already been bedeviled by a myriad of problems.
On the issue of cattle rustling and farmland destruction, Anas said the issue had reached an alarming proportion that must be tackled frontally.
Anas said the bloody clashes in Taraba, Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and other parts of the country had become unbearable.
“This recurring but often violent crisis perpetrated by unknown hoodlums has continued to traumatise innocent and enterprising Nigerians engaged in cattle rearing and farming.
“The crisis is perhaps accentuated by the economic hardship and joblessness.
“The centre commends, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, for his efforts in resolving the crisis through the “Cattle Initiative’’ to fight against cattle rustlers in Kaduna, which has already recorded huge successes.
“The centre is calling on governments at all levels to ensure that every action aimed at finding lasting solution are put in place to enable the return of normalcy in the nooks and crannies of our communities.’’
The executive secretary also commended recent efforts adopted by all stakeholders to tackle the resurgence of armed banditry, kidnappings, pipeline vandalism, among others.
He called for concerted efforts to address the issues from all directions in other to create an enabling environment for peace to reign across the country.