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Published On: Tue, Feb 25th, 2014

FG still open to dialogue with Boko Haram – Jonathan

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President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

By Aminu Imam with agency report

President Goodluck Jonathan said the Federal Government is still open to constructive dialogue with the Boko Haram to end insurgency in the North-East zone of the country.

The President stated this in Abuja yesterday, when he declared open an International seminar on: “The Observance of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Internal Security Operations”.

The seminar, which held at the National Defence College, was co-hosted by the Offices of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Security Adviser (NSA).

President Jonathan called on members of the sect to lay down their arms and table their grievances, if any, before the government. He, however, clarified that while waiting for the response from the sect, the military operations in the troubled areas would continue to safeguard lives and property.

He said, “Our administration has committed tremendous resources and adopted several approaches to prosecuting the fight against terror in Nigeria.

“The declaration of a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states is one of the measures taken to contain the activities of the terrorists.

“The National Committee on Peace and Dialogue in the northern parts of the country was constituted to explore ways of dialoguing with the Boko Haram sect with a view to addressing their grievances, if any.

“I wish to use this platform to renew my previous call to members of the sect to lay down their arms and engage government in a constructive manner in order to address their grievances, if truly they have any reason to do what they are doing.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has commenced preliminary examination to ascertain the efforts of the Nigerian government in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East of the country.

Addressing State House correspondents at a security seminar in Abuja yesterday, the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mrs. Fatou Bensouda said the organisation had been observing various areas, but stressed that recent Boko Haram incidents were a concern for the court.

“The ICC is yet to reach a stage it will consider an investigation and prosecution of the culprits in the crisis,” Mrs. Bensouda said.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for several killings and bombings in the region that started in 2009.

The Federal Government had deployed military personnel to the region but the governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, while contradicting the Federal Government’s position that it is ‘winning the war’ against the sect, Shettima said the military efforts were not enough to quell the insurgency.

A security consultant, Capt. Umar Aliyu (rtd), however said that the government lacks the political will to fight the Boko Haram. “The military has the capacity to tackle the insurgents but someone is showing lack of will to give them the matching order to end the insurgency,” he stated.

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