B’Haram: Ganduje cautions FG over negotiation, lawyers divided

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Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has urged the Federal Government to be cautious in its negotiation with the Boko Haram sect.

The governor, who was fielding questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Friday, expressed fears that the government might end up dealing with a fake faction of the militant sect.

He said, “I hope when we negotiate with them, we are negotiating with the correct people.

“Experience has shown that the group has so many factions and if we are not lucky, we may be dealing with the wrong faction.”

In a related development, lawyers in separate interviews with one of our correspondents, expressed diverse views over President Muhammadu Buhari’s expressed willingness to grant amnesty to Boko Haram in exchange for the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls.

While some lawyers were in support of the move, others expressed pessimism over the offer of amnesty to the insurgents for releasing the over 200 girls who were kidnapped on April 14, 2014.

A civil rights lawyer and social commentator, Mr. Wahab Shittu, identified this time when the Nigerian military appears to be gaining momentum in the fight against Boko Haram as the right time for the government to negotiate with them.

He noted that Nigeria “must ensure it negotiates from a position of strength and not that of weakness.”

He said, “It is the right time because ultimately no matter how prolonged any crisis is, the combatants will get to a negotiation table.

“The primary purpose of any government is the security and welfare of its citizens and if on that score government because of one life decides to negotiate, it is okay because any life lost cannot be replaced.”

Another civil rights lawyer, Mr. Liborous Oshoma, who also supported the move however called on the government to get to the roots of the insurgency to prevent other people from taking up arms against the state in the future.

He said, “Anything that will lead to the release of those girls, that is if they are still together, is welcome. This is not the first time that government is even attempting to use the carrot and stick approach and it is good that the government is not saying that it is going to fold its arms and beg them to come and take amnesty.

“It should be as bait to get to the sponsors of the group. Government should address the root cause of the Boko Haram crisis because if that is not addressed, another group will spring up in the future. It is better to rehabilitate these people than to leave them to continue on this rampage of killing innocent people.”

Mr. Jiti Ogunye, another lawyer, however, noted that it would be dangerous to grant amnesty to Boko Haram on the basis of the release of the Chibok girls if the group has not renounced violence.

He therefore described Buhari’s invitation to the group as bait.

He said, “They have not repudiated their satanic ideology so if the Chibok girls were released for example and they are granted amnesty on that score, what happens next? Will they stop blowing up people and all that?”

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