BY NDAHI MARAMA & SUZAN EDEH
TO make the cease-fire declared by the Jama’atul Ahalis Sunna Lida’awati Wal Jihad, or Boko Haram Islamic Sect effective, the Borno State Government has urged sustained dialogue with the group.
A faction of the group, which had terrorized many parts of the North since July 2009 during which about 3000 Nigerians were killed agreed to sheathe its sword last Monday after discussions with the Borno State Government.
Speaking on the issue, Borno State Commissioner for Information, Home Affairs and Culture, Mr. Inuwa Bwala said, “the fact that a group, which admits being hostile to the state has offered an olive branch gives one hope that there is an end in sight,” adding that with the development, “the state and its good people owe it a duty to support further dialogue with others and push for the surrender of arms and possible amnesty, so that the economy and social coexistence which were destroyed during the insurgency will be improved for the sustainable development in not only the state, but also the country at large.”
Special Adviser to Governor on Communication, Alhaji Isa Umar Gusau, said the cease-fire was a welcome development, as the state Government under the leadership of Shettima since inception had opened its door for dialogue to end the hostilities which had disrupted economic fortune and peaceful co-existence in the state.
“It is a good thing that has happened not only to the state, but also the country at large.
You can also confirm as journalists that have been following the activities of the governor is that from the day he became a governor-elect, even before he was sworn in, he was first to speak on the need for dialogue as the best way out.
Governor Shettima has been very firm and consistent on this believe as he has regularly advocated that unless we want to engage in an endless war, the best way out of the crisis is dialogue towards a peaceful resolution,” Isa stated.
He added that Governor Shettima was ready and committed to ensuring peaceful co-existence among the diverse ethnic groups in the state. “I can confirm to you that Governor Shettima has consistently been exploring different ways to establish means of negotiation for a fruitful dialogue to end the challenges.
Anytime someone is killed be it a civilian, a security personnel or any member of the sect, Governor Shettima is deeply pained, he hates to hear that someone has lost his or her life, no matter who that person is.
It is the hope and prayers of Governor Shettima that not just peace but indeed sustainable peace returns to Borno and the rest of Nigeria in the quickest time because he knows like he says, that no society can thrive without peace.”
Likewise, Spokesman of the Joint Task Force, ‘Operation Restore Order’ in Borno state, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa said, conflicts are resolved through dialogue, hence, the declaration of ceasefire by the sect’s leader is a welcome development.
He however said that, the JTF would still remain alert to continue maintain law and order and protect lives and property of citizens in its area of operational responsibility
Ceasefire ‘ll restore peace and hope in northern states – Bauchi CAN
Also, Bauchi State Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joshua Ray Maina has commended leaders of Boko Haram for declaring ceasefire saying that the move would restore peace and hope in the North-East geopolitical zone of the country.
He said in view of the 2015 general elections, the declaration of ceasefire is a positive development because it will restore confidence in the hearts of the people to trust the government again.
According to him, “Boko Haram is a creation of northern elites and 2015 is just around the corner, so the northern elites now have no other option than to look for a way to maintain peace and national security.
In the state of insecurity the nation is experiencing, there can never be a review of voter’s registration list, let alone people coming out to cast votes in 2015.So the northern elites have to face the reality by calling their boys back to order.
Ceasefire is mandatory because if Boko Haram continues its activities, people cannot come out to vote and by implication, there cannot be an election”.
The CAN secretary noted that the activities of BokoHaram in the country had caused underdevelopment and depopulation in the North because most viable industries have moved out of the North as result of insecurity.
He said with the ceasefire, the tourism potentials of Bauchi State for instance would be restored.
“Bauchi State is endowed with a lot of tourist attractions and these have generated huge revenues for the state in the past, but with the spate of insecurity in northern parts of the country, many investors have refused to come to the state to invest.
Places like the Yankari Games Reserve, which foreigners patronize is a shadow of itself. With ceasefire, tourism will be revived, thereby boosting development of state.”
Rev. Joshua hoped that the ceasefire would make people especially those in the southern and eastern parts of the country to change their negative perception about North and invest in the state.