The Federal Government Tuesday said that it would only take the offer of ceasefire by a faction of the dreaded Islamic group, Boko Haram seriously on the condition that it must stop its violence in the North for a period of one month.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, disclosed the Federal Government’s position just as the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, summoned an emergency security meeting over increased presence of foreign immigrants in the FCT.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, at the opening of the 2013 seminar on National Security with the theme, Contemporary National Security Challenges: Policy Option, organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College, Abuja, Ibrahim said that while security chiefs were happy over the development, they are yet to believe until one month after.
According to him, the federal government would only take the peace overture seriously if Boko Haram could ensure that attacks of whatever form did not take place for 30 days.
He stated that security operatives would wait for the period to see if no public place, security formation and places of worship were bombed before taking the sect seriously.
Ibrahim also expressed optimism that the development would culminate into improved security in the country.
He said, “You see, we must treat that with a lot of caution. You understand, there are certain objective tests that will make sense. Let’s assume we can have a long period of about one month where no bomb explodes, where nobody is shot, where nobody is beheaded, where no church is bombed, where no mosque is threatened.
“If they can guarantee just one month, then we can begin to talk. You see we must take this with a lot of caution. That is what I am telling you.
“We hope whatever that must have brought about this will further enhance our security and it’s like a recognition of the very futile approach to solving whatever they consider to be their problems. So we are a bit excited by it but we are taking everything with a lot of caution.”
It would be recalled that one of Boko Harama’s commanders for Southern and Northern Borno, Muhammed Abdulazeez, had in a statement on Monday, said the sect had resolved to stop its violence after a dialogue with the Government of Borno State in Maiduguri.
Abdulazeez urged all Boko Haram members to ceasefire in honour of the declaration.
Abdulazeez had said, “For sometime now, we the members of Jamaatul ahlil Boko Haram sunna lidawati wal jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram have recently had a meeting and dialogue with the government of Borno State where we resolved that given the prevailing situation, there is the need for us to cease fire.
“We, on our own, in the top hierarchy of our movement under the leadership of Imam Abubakar Shekau, as well as some of our notable followers agreed that our brethren in Islam, both women and children are suffering unnecessarily; hence we resolved that we should bring this crisis to an end.
“We therefore call on all those that identify themselves with us and our cause, to from today(Monday) lay down their arms. Let every member who hears this announcement relay it to the next member who hasn’t heard.
“We have met with the Borno State Government on two occasions and the fallout of the meeting was to cease fire.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in 2011 initiated a dialogue between the Federal Government and the sect.
Obasanjo had visited the family of the late leader of the sect, Mohammed Yusuf, in Maiduguri, where he was received by the father-in-law of the leader, Babakura Fuggu.
Fuggu was killed a few days after Obasanjo’s visit.
In November last year, the sect named a former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and six others to mediate between it and the government.
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