THE leader of the Northern Civil Society Coalition, Mallam Shehu Sani has said that the dialogue allegedly offered by Boko Haram to the Federal Government is not a genuine one from the leadership of the Islamic group. He, therefore, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to take more proactive steps towards putting an end to the hostilities and insecurity, which have caused the nation huge resources and human lives.
Shehu spoke yesterday in Kaduna while reacting to the dialogue offer by Boko Haram, which also announced the former Head of State and Presidential Candidate, Major General Muhammadu Buhari as part of the negotiating team expected to discuss with the Federal Government representatives in Saudi Arabia.
Elaborating on the call for dialogue, Sani said that, “from my own study of the group, their way of operation and their own strategy and tactics, and their own predisposition to dialogue or talks, I doubt the authenticity of the statement ascribed to Boko Haram.
“We all want this violence to come to an end. Terrorism is an abhorrent crime; we cannot continue to function as a country when innocent people and individuals are killed continuously.
“But if we want to get out of this problem, we shouldn’t deceive ourselves by taking the path of deception. A genuine dialogue and peace process can only be done through the government and the genuine leadership of that group.
“You cannot end violence or achieve peace if you are dealing or talking with the wrong people.”
The civil rights activist argued: “If Nigerians should disregard this offer, until and unless the leader of the group, Mallam Imam Abubakar Shekau makes a categorical statement through the U-tube or an e-mail to Nigerians, it is then we would take this issue very serious.
“I do not think the group would choose General Mohammed Buhari to negotiate on their behalf. I also do not think that person who is claiming to be speaking on behalf of the group is genuine. And I do not also think that the offer made is genuine and credible.
“Like I have said earlier, issues that have to do with dialogue, seize-fire and an end to terrorism should come from the same source who is the leader of the group, through video and making clear statement about this issue.
“And also when we look at things, from the events of the last few days, and up till now, there is no clear indication on ground that there is any possibility of a seize-fire. There is also no clear indication on the ground that this violence is coming to an end.
“We should not deceive ourselves with dubious and bogus personalities and individuals who are consistently milking and extorting money from the government in the name of either mediating or benefitting from the violence that is going on.
“We should also note very well that if we have a fake peace offer by a fake person towards a fake peace, we will simply have fake hope and that is not in the interest of peace.”
Sani continued: “For me, I can only believe that there is a genuine cease-fire and a genuine offer for dialogue if and only if the leader of the group comes out openly and makes such a categorical statement.
“I can also only believe it, if I see the cessation of hostility on ground. But, we should not be complacent, people are still being killed on the streets, their worship places, and nobody is safe wherever any person goes.
“So, should a teleconference from anonymous personality within the next few hours impress the government? I do not think it is genuine.
“What we should understand clearly is that this is something that is surmountable. We can bring an end to terror through force as it was done in Sri Lanka and Algeria or we can also bring an end to terror through dialogue.
“The only time the group, Boko Haram has made a statement and made mention of somebody whom they say, in quote, they have confidence in is the statement they issued about two months ago where they made it very clear that a freelance journalist who is based in Abuja, who used to be in Borno State is a person whom they have, in one way and another been talking to.
“And I believe if the Government is clearly interested in bringing this problem to an end, it doesn’t need a hundred millions of dollars, it doesn’t need a reporting fake individual to do it. It also doesn’t need going to Saudi Arabia.
“Why has the government consistently shied away from reaching out to the person whom the group has mentioned in most of its statements which it has issued?”
He continued: “So, as far as I’m concerned, until and unless I see the leadership of the group making such a statement and unless I see a clear U-tube video that indicates that the group is ready for peace, I won’t believe.
“But placing teleconferences by an individual whose name has never been heard also making certain demands and including the name of General Muhamadu Buhari as part of the dialogue, I do not believe that.”
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