From Ado Musa in Jos, & Umar Muhammad Puma with agency report.
The Federal Government may have “reached an understanding” with the militant Boko Haram sect, which could lead to the signing of a ceasefire deal with the group. This may signal the end of the five year’s insurgency bedeviling the North-East zone, according to report.
The agreement on the ceasefire deal, which was revealed by a spokersperson yesterday on the Hausa Service of Voice of America (VOA), monitored in Jos, suggested that the deal comprises of representatives from Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, led by the Chadian President, Idriss Deby.
According to the report, the sects spokesperson told VOA that Boko Haram was preparing to lay down their arms, adding that the abducted Chibok schoolgirls would very soon be released to return to their parents.
On whether the girls are with them, the spokesperson said, ” yes they are with us but we divided them into different groups. As soon as the deal is finally sealed, they ( girls ) will be brought together and handed over to the Chadian President for onward delivery to their parents. “None of them died”, he said.
When VOA asked on what was given to the sect as ransom, the spokesperson said that, “Of course the deal was agreed based on certain things, but I cannot say it out for now because there is going to be another meeting”.
On how they get weapons to fight, he said, “We get our weapons from Allah. We get it just like the way rain falls from the sky. Any time we ask for it, we get it”.
When asked if Shekau is alive and aware of the deal, the spokesperson reaffirmed that , ” Shekau is alive and aware of the deal. The deal is being done with his consent.
A government official, Ambassador Hassan Tukur, who is among the Nigerian representative confirmed the negotiation, saying that any moment from now, the FG will give Nigerians the detail on the release of the girls.
It could be recalled that in July last year, the Federal Government announced it had reached a ceasefire agreement with the Federal Government to end their deadly activities across most states of Northern Nigeria, which have claimed about 4,000 lives and destroyed properties worth billions of Naira since 2009.
Chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, announced this while speaking on the Hausa Service of Radio France International. This was subsequently refuted by the sect.
The Federal Government, had on April 4, set up the amnesty panel to work out ways of arresting the growing violence and killings in the North by the Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday said Ngala, Bama and Kala-Balge local government areas of Borno State are still under the control of the Boko Haram.
In a motion moved by Rep Abdurrahman Terab (PDP, Borno), the House urged the Federal Government to increase the security manpower in the three local governments, towards the re-take of the captured the territories, in view of the illegal acts being perpetrated by the insurgents in the areas, against the “earlier reports that the said Local Government Areas were reclaimed by the Nigerian government and are now under the control of Nigerian troops,.
Rep Terrab said “Young women and teenage girls are not being spared, as they are facing all sorts of abuse, torture and forced marriages,” he said.
He disclosed that the “refugees that fled to Cameroon numbering almost two hundred thousand and who are mostly from Ngala and Kala-Balge Local Government Areas, are living without basic requirements, like food and shelter.”
He added that the Nigerian military battling the insurgents is doing its best despite the challenges of inadequate manpower, arms and equipment to execute the operation.
Rep Terrab, who represents Bama, Ngala and Kala-Balge, urged federal government to act because of the arbitrary killings and laws currently being enforced the insurgents in the areas.
The House also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to liaise with its Cameroonian counterparts towards providing relief materials to refugees currently in the Cameroon towns.