FG, Boko Haram talks on verge of collapse

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan The Federal Government is on the verge of abandoning dialogue with Boko Haram because the sect has refused to ceasefire, it was learnt last night.

A senior government official who spoke under the condition of anonymity confided that that the federal government was no longer on the dialogue because the sect has not show sufficient commitment to talks.

According to the source, the killing of Gen. Mohammed Shuwa also created a major setback for the proposed dialogue.

This is coming as the United Kingdom Border Agency said that it will not grant any Nigerian asylum because of the Boko Haram insurgency.

It claimed that any Nigerian feeling unsafe in the Northern part of the country could relocate to the South or anywhere outside the trouble spots.

On the imminent breakdown of talks between the federal government and Boko Haram the source said: “From the look of things, the proposed dialogue is under threat by the refusal of the sect to ceasefire. We are not yet convinced that they wanted us to come to the peace table.

“The killing of Gen. Shuwa led to a major setback for the dialogue process. The government was sad that a harmless war hero could be killed just like that after he had fought for the unity of this country. And if you observe, there had been pockets of violence too in the North-East in recent weeks.

“The signs are not yet there that the sect is prepared for peace talks. The Boko Haram leaders have also not reached out to the government outside their official statement. Yet, the government is willing to discuss with the sect.

“We have not heard any words from Saudi Arabia to ascertain whether the sect had reached out to them to. So, no one knows where and when the talks will hold. Some of those named as peace facilitators like ex-Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, have declined the offer.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “We are suspecting that the ceasefire offer may be a tactical strategy by the sect to consolidate its stronghold. We are also not taking things for granted. Although Boko Haram denied involvement in the killing of Gen Shuwa, the government is not convinced.

“That is why Nigeria is also teaming up with other ECOWAS members for Mali intervention by the UN Force.”

Aside its asylum comments, the UK Border agency also noted that corruption is still rampant in the Nigeria Police Force.

The position of the British Government is contained in the agency’s country report titled “Operational Guidance Note Nigeria.”

It advised those facing challenges in the Boko Haram enclave to either seek protection from security agencies or move out of the North.

The document, exclusively obtained by our correspondent, reads in part: “Boko Haram has said it carried out a number of attacks against churches and other establishments since 2009. More than 640 people have died in the country so far in 2012 in attacks blamed on the group.

“It is thought that some members of Boko Haram have connections with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group already designated as a terrorist organization by the US.

“Boko Haram says it wants Islamic Shari’a Law in place across Nigeria and analysts suggest it is trying to trigger clashes between Christians and Muslims. A country of 150million people, Nigeria’s population is equally divided between Christians and Muslims.

“Some applicants may make an asylum and or human rights claim based on the grounds that they are not free to practise their religion and that they would face ill-treatment amounting to persecution. Some applicants may express fear of Shari’a Courts in Northern Nigeria to enforce Shari’a. Some applicants may also fear persecution in the hands of Boko Haram or may fear being caught up in the violence perpetrated by members of Boko Haram.

“The right to religious freedom is enshrined in the constitution and there are no reports of anyone experiencing problems with the Federal Government in practising their chosen religion.

“Claims under this category will therefore be clearly unfounded and as such should be certified. Applicants expressing fear of Hisbah groups are able to safely relocate elsewhere in Nigeria where such groups do not operate or have no influence.

“Claims made on the basis of Hisbah groups are therefore also likely to be clearly unfounded. Applicants claiming asylum in this category are likely to be refused but case owners should remember that each case should be looked at on its individual merits.”

On the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Britain revealed that it is still riddled with corruption.

The document says: “Corruption within the Nigeria Police Force is rampant. Commercial drivers pay to go through police roadblocks; suspects pay to be released from custody and detainees pay to improve the conditions of their detention. In 2008, the Presidential Committee acknowledged the severity of the problem.

“In the course of their duties, some police officers harass and intimidate members of the public. They also go further to extort money from accused persons and complainants before they serve them. Those who do not cooperate usually suffer unlawful arrest and detention.

“The police routinely solicit bribes from victims to investigate crimes and from suspects to drop investigations.”

The Nation

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