The Borno State NASS caucus of the National Assembly in Nigeria, said military deployment to curb the rampaging radical Islamic fundamentalists, Boko Haram, is not the best approach. After the caucus meeting last Saturday, the immediate past Senate Minority leader, Maina Maaji Lawan addressed a press conference where he declared that, ‘Unconditional amnesty for and dialogue with the group,’ is the only solution to the problem.
Lawan was with two other senators and three members of the House of Representatives from the state, when he said the federal government needs to rethink its strategy for bringing an end to the Boko Haram menace the same way it resolved the militancy saga in the Niger Delta by dialogue and the amnesty program. Lawan urged President Goodluck Jonathan to order the immediate withdrawal of the military forces from Maiduguri and its surroundings, he said the federal government should deliberately engage the Boko Haram members in dialogue.
He stated that since the beginning of the military operations in Maiduguri, “Innocent citizens who know nothing about the Boko Haram are the ultimate victims of the military crackdown,” adding that, “Borno is in a state of complete siege.”
“In many Bayelsa communities, houses were ransacked, innocent people were killed and whole villages devastated in the guise of looking for militants.” He said they could however no longer continue to keep quiet as “the situation is deteriorating by the day causing untold hardship on innocent citizens.”
The Borno National Assembly Caucus however said it would conduct an assessment to confirm the extent of damages to lives and properties as a result of the Boko Haram crisis. While sympathizing with the victims and families of those it described as “innocent citizens that lost lives and properties in the unfortunate incident”, the lawmakers urged all relevant government agencies especially the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the affected victims.