Islamic clerics ask sect to embrace dialogue
GOVERNOR Gabriel Suswam at the weekend announced that over 100 suspected members of the Boko Haram sect have been arrested in Benue State.
Suswam, who dropped the hint at the Patrons Night organised by the management of Makurdi Club 1930, also disclosed that the suspects were from the Niger Republic, Chad, Mali and some North African countries.
The state Commissioner of Police, John Haruna, at a meeting with officers and men of his command, announced the decision to embark on grassroots sensitisation programme on the need to be security conscious in the face of the Boko Haram threats. .
But Islamic leaders in the North have called on the Boko Haram sect members to cease hostilities and accept the olive branch offered by the Federal Government in the form of dialogue to address their grievances.
The Muslim clerics, acting under the umbrella of the Islamic Unity Forum (MUF), said it was time the sect embraced dialogue and stopped inflicting pains on Nigerians through bombings and other acts of violence.
The IUF stressed that the sect should without further delay toe the path of the peace moves recently outlined by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Muslim leaders, in a four-point communiqué issued at the end of an emergency meeting, called on the leaders of the Boko Haram sect to reveal their true identities and seize the opportunity of the peace initiatives by prominent northern leaders, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, in order to resolve the crisis through dialogue.
The forum commended President Jonathan for his open invitation to the members of the Boko Haram sect for a dialogue, stressing that “the President has again re-affirmed his belief in dialogue as a potent weapon for halting the reign of terror unleashed on the nation by the sect.” .
However, the IUF enjoined the Federal Government “to speak with one voice” in its handling of the Boko Haram issue because “a situation whereby the security agencies are churning out different statements regarding Boko Haram would further compound the situation.”
It reiterated “the importance of dialogue, consultation and compromise in delicate situations such as this,” adding that “we have witnessed worse situations than this in other countries and through dialogue they have resolved it amicably; as such Nigeria cannot be an exception.”
Meanwhile, following the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Kano, France has shipped 600kg of medical supplies to the city for the treatment of the injured.
A top diplomat at the French Mission in Nigeria Vincent Larrouzé, stated at the weekend: “The medical assistance arriving in Kano will go to these public hospitals so that follow-up care can be provided to 200 injured people, suffering in particular from bullet wounds, open fractures and burns.
“We re-affirm France’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and our solidarity with Nigeria in the face of this terrible ordeal. This was the message conveyed by the Ministre d’Etat during his visit to Kano in November.”
In a related development, the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief Alaba Lawson, has urged all ethnic groups in the country to continue to show understanding in the face of continuous bomb attacks by the Boko Haram sect.