Boko Haram: Govt ponders Buhari’s choice as mediator

Buhari

Buhari

Barely 24 hours after the offer of a ceasefire by Boko Haram, there were indications yesterday that the Presidency was weighing the conditions set for ceasefire by the sect.

President Goodluck Jonathan may also consult widely if the sect is serious in holding dialogue with the Federal Government.

But the Congress for Progressive Change queried the choice of Buhari as one of the leaders recommended for peace talks with Boko Haram and described it as a gambit.

A highly-placed source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The Presidency is still studying the ceasefire conditions reeled out by Boko Haram. The government is weighing these terms on whether they are acceptable to it or not.

“There is nothing wrong in having dialogue with the sect, but the conditions from Boko Haram deserve careful study.

“The naming of a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and others as negotiators is a key challenge to both parties if the dialogue is to hold at all.

“No one knows the mindset of Buhari on this offer because he has not been attending the Council of State sessions.

“Also, the disposition of Saudi Arabia to serve as a facilitator of the talks is another diplomatic issue. Being a moderate state, we are not sure if it will want to shoulder such a responsibility.

“So, a lot of issues are woven around the peace conditions tabled by Boko Haram.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The President is going to consult widely before the government comes out with a position on these conditions.

“You have to realise that it takes two to dialogue. Before we meet at peace table, the Federal Government may also make its views known on a few things in order to have smooth talks.”

The source said the “Office of the National Security Adviser which had been in touch with the sect might still coordinate the peace talks after the Federal Government has come up with its own modalities or steps.”

On its part, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) through its National Publicity Secretary, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, said Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was never directly or indirectly involved with any insurrection or insurgency.

It queried the choice of Buhari as one of the leaders recommended for peace talks with Boko Haram and described it as a gambit.

In a statement in Abuja, the CPC said: “Our attention in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has been drawn to widely publicised news that our National Leader, General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) has been appointed to take part in a Boko Haram/Federal Government parley.

“As a party, we are convinced that this is the latest gambit in the desire of this organically corrupt PDP-led Federal Government in diverting the attention of the unsuspecting Nigerian public from the ongoing massive looting of their common patrimony.

“Without any scintilla of equivocation, General Muhammadu Buhari has never been directly or remotely connected with any insurrection or insurgency against the Nigerian nation and her people.

“He remains the quintessential patriot that continues to magnetise the very best across the ethno-religious boundaries within the Nigerian nation-space.

“As we have stated in an earlier communication, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as a corporate entity, is the harbinger of the insecurity travails of the Nigerian people for the sole reason of ensuring perpetuity in governance.

“From recollection of events of the last two years, there are three variants of the Boko-Haram: the original Boko-Haram that is at daggers drawn with the Nigerian authority for the extra-judicial killing of their leader; the criminal Boko-Haram that is involved in all criminality for economic reasons and, of course, the most lethal of all, the political Boko-Haram-which the PDP-led Federal Government represents.

“The President, Dr. Good-luck Jonathan, had once alerted the nation to the ubiquitous presence of Boko-Haram in his government- a fact aptly amplified by his erstwhile National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi.

“Undoubtedly, the latest revelations by the State Security Services (SSS) on the complicity of the top echelon of the PDP leadership in Boko Haram activities aptly bear testimony of the noxious subterfuge to extirpate the essence of our nationhood.

“Finally, we call on all Nigerians to reject this latest deceptive ploy by this PDP-led government and demand for more transparency in the governance of the nation. As a party, we remain unfazed by the cheap propagandist endeavours of the PDP, knowing that Nigerians are the best judges of the under-performance of this regime. God bless Nigeria.”

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