‘Boko Haram reaches out, may be ready to negotiate’
A SILVER lining may have appeared in the dark, gloomy, intractable cloud of insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists, as some members of the group are said to be reaching out, requesting for a platform to negotiate with the Federal Government on possible cessation of hostilities.
With this, the end of the menace that has led to the death of thousands of people and spawned the kidnapping of hundreds of others, including the now-famous Chibok Girls, may be in its twilight weeks and months.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) has called on members of the National Assembly to slash their emoluments as a sacrifice in view of the present economic down turn in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Centre, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd), who made the disclosure in Abuja during a press briefing yesterday, said the dialogue option was in line with the opinion of some Nigerians who think that “talking with the sect would provide a leeway for not only securing the safety of the abducted Chibok school girls alive, but also bring to an end the orgy of violence unleashed on innocent Nigerians by the group.
“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 (CCC) by some members of the Boko Haram requesting for genuine and comprehensive dialogue that could lead to hundreds of them coming out to renounce their membership.”
While suggesting, however, that it should be done with caution, bearing in mind previous failed attempts, Anas said security operatives would devise a means of knowing the authenticity or otherwise of the members that would come for the negotiations.
The former Air Force spokesman said as an independent Non-Governmental Organisation, that monitors and evaluates the socio-economic and political dynamics in the society with a view to identifying what could possibly breed conflicts in the polity, the centre identified some issues that are potentially critical and could generate crisis if not proactively tackled.
Anas said the issue of cattle rustling has reached an alarming proportion as it always precipitates bloody clashes leaving scores of people dead in different parts of the country.
He commended Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State for his efforts in this regard and in setting up the ‘Cattle Initiative’ to fight against cattle rustlers the state, which has already recorded huge successes with the recent recovery of over 2000 cows in different locations in the state.
“The Centre believes that more discussions and legislative actions at the states and National Assembly levels are needed now on the propriety or otherwise of creating or delineating grazing areas in the country.”
On the recent move by the leaders of the ex-militants to meet, the CCC said it was disturbing as it amounts to attempts to resurrect the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) with the arrow head being Mr. Government Tompolo along with some Ijaw youths even as he commended the appointment of retired General Peter Boroh.
“Since the inception of the Amnesty programme billions of naira have been and are still being spent to address the youth challenges of the region. If there are genuine grievances with the Amnesty programme, legitimate avenues and appropriate channels should be exploited.