Some members of the Boko Haram terrorist group have contacted the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) to initiate a dialogue process with the Federal Government on their behalf.
The terrorists have made several calls to the CCC claiming that hundreds of their members who were tired and now have contrary opinions to the destructive and murderous activities of the terrorist organization are willing to lay down their arms.
Making the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday, the CCC Executive Secretary, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (rtd), said: “The efforts by some members of the group to get across to the Centre and the discussions we have had, have been encouraging. We have taken measures also to ascertain the genuineness or otherwise of these persons. We believe they are ready for genuine dialogue. However, discussions are still ongoing and nothing concrete has been arrived at, but it is an opportunity to interact with what I call insiders in the Boko Haram group.”
Commodore Anas, who also spoke on sundry national issues including cattle rustling, National Assembly crisis, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery and Radio Biafra among others, said he and his team were already in the process of facilitating a meeting with relevant government agencies for the much awaited dialogue.
“The Boko Haram challenges have continued to become an intractable crisis situation to our nation. Recently, Governor Kashim Shetima of Borno stated that ‘more than three million innocent Nigerians from Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other parts of Nigeria live in deep agony, having lost their sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, other relations and neighbours after being brutally attacked by members of Boko Haram.
“Some prominent Nigerians have in recent times canvassed the idea of dialogue with Boko Haram. The option of dialogue, according to them, at the moment, provides a leeway for not only safely rescuing the abducted Chibok school girls alive but also possibly bringing to an end, the orgy of violence unleashed on innocent Nigerians by the group.
“Considering the unspeakable atrocities which the group has visited on Nigeria and Nigerians, this option is no doubt a hard sell. However, the recent statement of President Muhammadu Buhari on government’s readiness to negotiate with credible members of the sect has rekindled hope for dialogue.
“The Centre views this gesture as good because it has opened a window of opportunity for dialogue for these insurgents that are willing and ready to lay down their arms. This position is predicated on calls made to the Centre by some members of the Boko Haram requesting for genuine and comprehensive dialogue that could lead to hundreds of them coming out to renounce their membership”.
“From discussions held so far, the members seem to be speaking on behalf of a cross section of the group. They expressed willingness to come forward to make certain proposals on behalf of other members of the group. If we pursue this line, I believe something positive will come out.
“The Centre, however, suggests that such dialogue should be done with every sense of caution and responsibility bearing in mind the previous disappointments that attended attempts at negotiations.”
However, it is unclear whether the latest moves will yield dividends on account of the past botched attempts and the sect’s alliance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).