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Published On: Tue, Jul 8th, 2014

Sultan to Jonathan: Dialogue with insurgents to free Chibok girls

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Jonathan and Sultan
  • We are close to finding them – FG

From Raji Bello, Sokoto

Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Muhammadu Abubakar III has called on the federal government to enter into dialogue with Boko Haram insurgents to secure the freedom of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted a few months ago in Borno state.

Speaking during his yearly Ramadan dinner with journalists in his palace in Sokoto, yesterday, the Sultan said that the plight of the girls and their parents should be a source of serious concern among

all stakeholders.

“One wonders if the schoolgirls abducted were our children, or any prominent politicians in the country. Wouldn’t you dialogue in order to rescue them unhurt? Dialogue doesn’t mean you are losing your face. We have seen how big men or their relatives are being kidnapped

and how those concerned will pay heavy ransom to secure their freedom immediately,” he said.

He advised the federal government to learn from the American government, who swapped five Taliban commanders for a single citizen in order to

save his life.  “The federal government must implore all avenues to free these schoolgirls,” Sultan implored.

According to him, “The fate of the common man solely lies in the hands of the leaders. Therefore, Nigerians must be concerned about who to choose as their leader.”

The Sultan urged the security agencies not to relent in their confrontation with the insurgency, describing them as “the last hope of common man as far as security is concerned.”

He identified the political class as the real problem of the country, saying that” what is happening in the country today is not caused by religious issues, but more to it than thought.

His words: “Let us find a solution to the current insecurity in the land. Politicians are our greatest problem today. What is happening now is about political positions or struggle. It is the people that cause all these problems not spirit. If 2015 elections are shifted now, everywhere will calm down.”

The monarch, however, challenged the leaders in the country to rule well and responsibly, adding that “things are getting worst because there is injustice and hunger in the land. I pray to God to provide food to all Nigerians and good leaders.”

He also called on Nigerians to turn to God and imbibe the spirit of tolerance., saying, “God that brought us together as Muslims and Christians knew what He did.”

However, the federal government said yesterday it was getting nearer to finding the Chibok girls. Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC), Mike

Omeri, who disclosed this during the regular briefing of the centre, on efforts to locate and bring back the girls to their families, said that security agencies have made much headway in infiltrating the ranks of the terrorists, and are presently in possession of information that will eventually lead to the rescue of the girls and ultimate defeat of Boko Haram.

According to Omeri, part of the new information obtained about the Boko Haram was that it has a female wing.

He said an armourer of the group has been arrested, however, Omeria stated that “some other information were still undergoing administrative processes and as such classified.”

The DG assured that the centre will release information when further actions are taken.” We now know some of the female operatives of Boko Haram and some of their armourers”, he said.

Omeri disclosed that a military commander was among the six troops who lost their lives at the weekend, when terrorists stormed their camp in Borno state.

On the suspected co-mastermind of the Nyanya Motor Park bombing in the Federal Capital Territory that led to the deaths of dozens of people, while several others were wounded, Ahmed Ogwuche,Omeri said the process of his extradition  from Sudan, where he has been traced to, was underway.

According to Omeri, officials of both Nigeria and Sudan were working on relevant papers to that effect; he however denied knowledge of any court processes initiated against it by any of Ogwuche’s family members.

Also yesterday, speaking during the Sultan’s yearly Ramadan dinner with journalists in his palace in Sokoto, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Revrd. Matthew Hassan Kukah called on Nigerians to be united and protect the integrity of the country.

 

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