The Boko Haram offer

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The campaign of the violent insurgent sect, Boko Haram, took a dramatic turn on November 1 as the group rolled out a number of conditions under which it would dialogue with the Federal Government on a ceasefire. A man who identified himself as Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz and second-in-command to Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, told journalists at a radio conference in Maiduguri that the sect was ready to negotiate with Nigerian leaders and stop its bombing campaigns provided the dialogue takes place in Saudi Arabia; the former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, is arrested and all Boko Haram members in the custody of the security agencies are released.

The group also listed “trusted Nigerians” it would be ready to negotiate with as former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd); Dr Shettima Monguno; a former Yobe State governor, Senator Bukar Ibrahim; Ambassador Gaji Galtimari; Aisha Alkali Wakil and her husband, Alkali. It also demanded compensation for all its members killed by security agents in the course of its campaign and the rebuilding of mosques and other property destroyed by the authorities.

President Goodluck Jonathan has since welcomed the ceasefire offer. He said his government would accept the Boko Haram proposition if it would lead to peace in the country. We, however, find the president’s muted response to the ridiculous terms proposed by Boko Haram both surprising, and amusing. This offer of a negotiation with persons unknown to the Federal Government is strange. The choice of Buhari and four other Nigerians as the persons with whom the sect is ready to negotiate is also odd.

The question that this demand has thrown up is whether Buhari and the others would be chosen by Boko Haram as trusted persons it could negotiate with if there is no relationship whatsoever between them and the sect. Their selection suggests that they know the Boko Haram leaders, and the leaders know them as well to be sympathetic to their cause. It would, indeed, be strange if these people were named by Boko Haram leaders without prior consultation with them. It is good, therefore, that Buhari has rejected the nomination.

For us, as much as we welcome this offer of negotiation and a ceasefire in the interest of peace in the country, the proposition seems an elaborate charade designed to distract the attention of the authorities from the real issues at hand. If the government is not careful, it will divert attention from its efforts at containing Boko Haram and succumb to this latest drama scripted by the sect, whose objective is not all too clear now.

We support the quest for a peaceful resolution of the Boko Haram conflict, but it is decidedly preposterous for an insurgent sect with unmistakable Islamic leanings to ask the Federal Government to come over to Saudi Arabia for negotiations. We do not think a group such as Boko Haram ought to be dictating the venue of proposed talks to the Federal authorities. Nigerians should recall that this is not the first time that Boko Haram has come up with odd demands. It, at one time, demanded that the president meets with its representatives on television. At another, it was reported to have directed President Jonathan to convert to Islam or face tough consequences, although this was later denied.

We advise government to exercise great caution in its engagement with Boko Haram. The authorities should be circumspect on this matter, because it is not befitting of a sovereign state to have its representatives called to a meeting outside the country by a sect within the country. This is even more so as sovereign governments have not been recorded anywhere in history to have negotiated with, or paid money to terrorists, in exchange for peace. That would be truly demeaning and Nigeria must not fall into that error.

The nation must not be seen to succumb to terrorism. Although the widely accepted principle, worldwide, is for nations not to negotiate with terrorists who wage war against their countries, it has become necessary for Nigerian authorities to dialogue with Boko Haram because of apparent incapability of the government to deal with the insurgency. Nigeria should, therefore, negotiate with Boko Haram but on reasonable terms. Let government quickly come up with its conditions and proposals on the proposed talks and communicate them to the sect leaders.

Trying to play the pacifist under a policy of appeasement of terrorists will not serve Nigeria well in this present situation. It will be an abdication of responsibility by the government. President Jonathan and his security team must navigate carefully on this Boko Haram ceasefire offer if they are not to throw our national sovereignty to the dogs.

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24 Comments

  1. Eddi john chidiebere on

    No reasonable gvt. Will negotiate with a terrorist group anywhr in the world. Ours will not be different. B.H is purely a terrorist. Group and the federal shld be not attend to them with a kid glove.. B.H can be crushed. Let the gvt. Do there job

  2. Boko haram shld have nominated me.what on earth will make one believe there has never been constant contact b/w bokoharam and their nominees.jonathan shld shun them and whatever they represent..if there shld be any peace talk Abuja won’t be too small for that.

  3. Although peaceful coexistence is good and encouraging but a terrorist group like Boko haram should not be allowed to dictate the tune of the dance of peace, because their will is not in tandem with the general will of the populace. Their conditions for negotiation are laughable and I must laugh, hahahahahaha:-)!

  4. This shows that Nigerian security agencies have worked for boko haram to have agreed to negotiate.if boko haram are not afraid of death,they would not choose outside to negotiate .God punish satan,

  5. When a man suddenly receives N100,000,000m, he becomes confused, and may die in or out of his confusion. But when he’s prepared for it before it comes, he’s ready to handle it. Our president is confused because he was never ready for the office, so he bluffs so much.

  6. john are u not in support of de negotiation?even wen it has become obvious dat de fg cannot do anytin 2 dem.all i kn is, let dem do anytin dat dey can provided dere is peace in dis contry.

  7. Negotiate wt a faceles group on such conditns proposed by dem? Count me out. If nig govt go by boko haram’s terms n conditns insted of boko goin by govt proposals,its a slab on nigeria. Pls kount me out!

  8. man of the truth on

    president GEJ is the worst Leader I have ever seen in my Life I talk this with Impunity.. how can you Negotiate with terrorist group who kill thousands of innocent men and children and the Labelled it as a result of poverty ? I can never imagine this in my entire life.God forbid I will denounced my Nigerian Citizen am not at all. this is stupid and senseless mr president…

  9. Mr Edet S. Asukwo Ita. on

    The conditions and legal terms which our FG should simply lay down for the Islamic sect ” Boko Haram” are as follows
    1. All Christians that were killed should be brought to live or their families should be compesated with the sum of 500 million naira each ;
    2. Churches that was burnt down should be repaired within 2 months all over the Northen States ;
    3. Their Leaders should come out and mention their co-supporters in our government ;
    4. Each and every one of them should face the International Court for Justice ;
    5. All their international sponsorers should be brought to book ;
    6. They should compesate all Banks where they stole from because none of the Holy Book( Holy Bible or Qur’an “) advice us to steal from funds which isn’t yours
    7. They should surrender all their weapons from their hide-out .
    8. Lastly , the present leader should speak the TRUTH nothing but the TRUTH about the Islamic Sect group with former Borno State Governor cos his hands is deeply in this mess.
    Ali Modu Sherrif should be prosecuted because he has use the Sect in killing all Christians and Igbos in Borno State due to his down fall in politics. In summary , after Ali Modu Sherrif’s prosecution , he should be slaugter like a ram on the media because he has sacrifice so many souls . God is not at sleep. Mr President , kindly go through my message because am a live witness of all these things happening in Maiduguri, Capital of Borno State. God Bless all that don’t loot government funds , Amen.

  10. Andreas wubal, jos on

    I laugh! GEJ 4life! But my president is too weak! Pls GEJ contact me 4 advice and see how this rubbish called boko haram will be brought to dustbins. Dont belittle me. GEJ!!! Be a man!

  11. The Son Of Biafra on

    Buhari, Boko Haram and balderdash

    November 15, 2012 by Abimbola Adelakun([email protected]) 12 Comments

    Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) reminds me of Jesus Christ. Not that I think he’s a Messiah but how you can be webbed in a double-bind trap. Jesus was asked if the Jews should pay taxes to their Roman overlords. Had he replied in the affirmative, he would be labelled a state apologist; a position antithetical to what a Messiah should be. If he replied otherwise, he would be risking treason. So he gave what Ibadan indigenes call Mesiogo answer – a witty response to idiocy.

    Boko Haram’s choice of Buhari as a mediator appears like even a triple-bind. If he accepts the role, he would fall into the hands of those who would say, in local parlance, something like, “We no talk am? He has been their sponsor all along!”

    And if he succeeds in brokering peace, he becomes the proverbial hunter who killed a notorious elephant with just his cap. He would have proved he had Boko Haram’s remote control all along.

    If, still, he mediates and fails, he would be demystified because his famous influence among northern youths would seem mere exaggeration.

    Now he has rejected the poisoned chalice, there are commentaries that he is sore that he lost last year’s Presidential election and would rather sit back and watch Nigerians bombed than offer his goodwill.

    There is, clearly, no way he can win.

    He has given a not-so Mesiogo response, and I think it is sensible.

    Nigeria should not waste time negotiating with Boko Haram. One, up till now, nobody knows precisely what the angst of its members is. Sometimes, they claim they want a religious state. Other times, they are anti-corruption and, infrequently, they are just as confused as everybody else. I doubt if the members themselves can point to their grouse. So, how do you talk with nebulous anarchists?

    Certain mischievous commentators have made a case for negotiations by comparing them to the IRA. This is quite disingenuous. The IRA had a valid basis, however faulty methods, for their uprising. The fact that Britain eventually capitulated via the Good Friday Agreement is not the same here.

    Nigeria does not owe Boko Haram what Britain owed Ireland; neither does Nigeria owe Boko Haram what it owes even the Niger Delta. What Nigeria owes Boko Haram is not different from what it owes millions of Nigerians.

    Two, which of the sect’s factions is ‘mandating’ a negotiation? They are not a single group whose manifesto is pasted on a plaque at their Headquarters’ reception. It has splinter groups and factions. So, how does Nigeria deal with the politics of which to meet?

    Three, where does Saudi Arabia stand in this? Personally, I have always found Saudi Arabia’s stance on Islamic terrorism worldwide curious. I wonder why they do not actively denounce it since such a move might burst the bubble of people who believe they are killing for God (although I also understand they’ll like to avoid meddling in local politics). Yet, using their country as a meeting place between Nigeria and Boko Haram is bad diplomacy.

    Four, I think it is time Nigeria stopped talking about this balderdash of negotiating with Boko Haram. I know how it is to wake up to news of people dying in the hands of these killers. It might be wearying dealing with them and might even be taxing on the Nigerian Army but after mindlessly killing an estimated 3,000 Nigerians, they should be made to pay, not compensated.

  12. who is Boko haram 2 decttate for d FG on what 2 make dem cease fire.what do dey think dey r.n u Mr president u r making Nigerians tink dat u r so weak.must u agree on wot eva they say.cant u take decision on ur own.Boko haram is a terrorist group n shuld nt be pampared like a baby.buhari n co.must be their supporters.

  13. We are the captives of our own identity. And I’m more perplexed about this mess in hearing of dialogue by this this blood suckers, murderers that are still living in our mist but is this not now that our gov should know the actual fact about B H and his cohorts. Nigerians nids to wise up and stop roaming in shit.

  14. Wat ıs so specıal abt dese ıdıots call boko haram? Some crımcrımınals jst brot demselves 2geda stealıng n kıllıng ınnocent souls n evry body ıs recognısıng dem, ımagıne! I wısh ıt was d mılıtary, dıs wuld hav bn ova long ago.

  15. If this is what will bring lasting peace to the country let the govt do it since Jonathan has shown his weakness in fighting the terrorist group. this has shown that this govt is weak indeed God will deliver us from all of them.

  16. jay-z Nwa Aguleri on

    so it has come to the extent that nigerian govvernment will be negotiating with terrorist who killed millions of christians now that i belivers that if you are a terrorist u will prevails in nigeria shameless country

  17. Ede Johnpaul T on

    Simply confused fG.if they negotiate with bh, they should wait and see more dangerious groups resurfacing all over the country because many will think is the simpleless way of attracting fg’s oil dollars. President Jonathan is a mess to this country. Long life Nigeria.

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