The Executive Secretary of the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), the group acting as the go-between for government and Boko Haram, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas, on Wednesday told Channels Television that he got a message from Boko Haram saying “they are tired of fighting and are ready for a quick deal to end the war”.
Air Commodore Anas said that although the insurgents are not asking for monetary compensation as a pre-condition for laying down their arms, they are seeking genuine commitment from government in the ongoing negotiations.
He further claimed that some Boko Haram elements had approached the CCC to help facilitate negotiations between them and the Federal Government sometime in August 2015.
He applauded the Federal Government’s willingness to dialogue with the genuine leaders of the terrorist group, adding that the CCC believes that the new position has become imperative in view of the fact that military option alone has failed to resolve the issue.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday confirmed that the Nigerian government has started negotiations with members of the Boko Haram sect, with the view to securing the release of the over 200 school girls kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State.
The President made the statement while responding to questions from members of the Nigerian community in France under the auspices of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO).
He said his administration was worried by the continued stay of the girls in the hands of their captors and was working tirelessly to get them released.
The girls were abducted from their school’s dormitory in the north-eastern Borno State on April 14 by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Ezekwesili Urges FG To Be Cautious In Negotiating With Boko Haram
The Co-Convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Group, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, on Wednesday said the Federal Government should employ the most credible intelligence first before beginning any talks with the Boko Haram group.
She spoke to the TV station in Abuja. Dr Ezekwesili said the government should be more focused on the results to prevent a recurrence of previous events.
President Buhari noted that the government had to first establish genuine members of the sect so that it would not make the mistake of engaging the wrong persons.
“It is a very sensitive development in the sense that; first, we have to establish; are they genuine leaders of the Boko Haram? That is number one. Number two, what are their terms? The first impression we had was not very encouraging,” he further stated
The President said one of the conditions given by the group was to release one of its members, who had been strategic in developing Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs), a demand that the government would not accept.
“They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making IEDs that is causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing people in Churches, Mosques, market places, motor parks and other places. But it is very important that if we are going to talk to anybody, we have to know how much he is worth.
“Let them bring all the girls and then, we will be prepared to negotiate, I will allow them to come back to Nigeria or to be absolved in the community.