Barely 24 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan declared measures to crush insurgency in the country, civil rights activist Shehu Sani, has described the steps outlined by the Federal Government as contradictory and incapable of bringing the insurgents to the negotiation table.
Sani, who is the president of the Civil Rights Congress, had been involved in two previous attempts to broker peace between the government and the insurgents, said the Federal Government had never been serious in finding a lasting solution to the rising wave of terrorism in the north.
The reason, according to him, is that the Federal Government does not want to negotiate with the sect so as not to be seen to be weak and surrendering to insurgents. He told Saturday Vanguard yesterday that “it was the insincerity of the Federal Government to accept and implement the conditions
previously given by the sect that had given rise to the attacks being launched by the group, saying that if the government had accepted the agreement brokered by former President Obasanjo and himself with the sect members in Maiduguri, the problem of insurgency would not have escalated to its present deadly form.“
He disclosed that the suggestions made by his committee and headed by Ahmed Datti on how to end insurgency based on their interactions with members of the sect, were inexplicably jettisoned by the Presidency, which at the time boasted that it was on top of the situation and was determined to crush the sect.
Sani also said the Chibok girls would also have been freed two weeks ago but for the last minute cancellation of negotiations by President Jonathan that the discussion should be discontinued with a negotiator, whom he introduced to the government.
The activist, who said he was however still willing to lead the way in further negotiations with the sect, however expressed doubts about the willingness of the members of the sect to come out and accept amnesty given the many roadblocks already erected by the government against them.
He pointed out that with a price tag on the head of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau from the Nigerian Government the United States, the declaration of a state of emergency in most of the states where the sect members are and the deployment of troops to go after them, it was impossible for the members to come out and discuss with anybody.
On how to free the Chibok girls, Sani asked the Federal Government to call a security conference of Northern Islamic clerics, who can hold talks with the Boko Haram leadership and guaranty the release of the girls in exchange for detained Boko Haram members.“
“The Muslim clerics should be brought into that kind of conference and the President should give them a waiver to reach out to the Boko Haram group and work out the possibility of getting these girls back. “In return, the President should take an inventory of all persons, who have been in detention on suspicion of aiding abetting or participating in this insurgency.
He should divide the insurgents into three groups-the high chiefs, the foot soldiers and their family members. “People who have been kept in detention should be exchanged for these Chibok girls. He should hand over these people to these Islamic clerics who would then meet the Boko Haram and collect the girls back,” Sani added.