Friday, 16 May 2014

SHETTIMA TO FG: You must negotiate with Boko Haram

Governor Kassim Shettima of Borno State has said that if negotiating with the Boko Haram sect would bring back the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, the Federal Government should not ignore the option.

He also regretted that it took President Goodluck Jonathan three weeks to reach out to him on the matter.
Shettima, who said this in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour yesterday,
decried the decision of President Jonathan not to go into negotiation with the insurgents, noting that the nation had no option.
He said: “Do we have any other option? If I have to talk to the devil to secure the release of the girls, I will do so. President Jonathan did not act on time and did not talk to me over the kidnappings until 19 days after.’’
The governor, who belongs to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, described Boko Haram militants as a “bunch of lunatics.”
Also speaking to CNN’s Aisha Sassay, a former Education Minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili, supported negotiating with the insurgents, but cautioned that the goal of the conversation should be to bring the girls back.
She said: “In many ways we hear about the conversation about negotiation. Understanding the kinds of options that are available, the downside of the options among others will enable us see the options open to us.
“Despite all these, the bottom line is that we want the girls released. We should be engaged in the negotiations. It should, however, be favourable to us. Whatever we do should result in an end game, which is that our girls should be brought back alive.”
She further regretted that the matter had assumed a political dimension, noting that the Federal and Bornu State governments were working at cross purposes.
She said: “When we interacted with officials of the Federal Government and Borno State, it became clear that we are dealing with a situation where there is a complete breakdown of trust between them.
“We have lost so much to political in-fighting. Everyone should insubordinate their in-fighting and concentrate on bringing back the girls.”(VANGUARD)

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