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Friday, November 2, 2012
Govt may accept dialogue offer with condition
The Federal Government is ready for dialogue with Boko Haram but on one condition that the Spiritual and Political Leader of the sect, Imam Abubakar Shekau, will be at the negotiation table.
It was also learnt that the government may come up with an Amnesty Programme for members of the sect after ceasefire and disarmament if they are sincere.
A government source, who spoke in strict confidence, said the conditions set by the group would be resolved during the dialogue.
The source said: “We were not surprised by the offer of the dialogue because there had been contacts between the sect and National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki in the last few months.
“As a matter of fact, the NSA had some talks with the leaders of the sect last week where it was indicated that Shekau’s deputy might lead Boko Haram delegation to the dialogue.
“The NSA however said the government would want Shekau to head the team from the sect’s side in order to give the proposed talks more weight.
“With Shekau, who is the spiritual and political leader of Boko Haram, there will be a meaningful direction for the discussion by the two parties.
“If it works out and if Boko Haram is sincere with the dialogue option, the government will embrace it.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Once we can find common grounds, the government will come up with a rehabilitation initiative which is similar to the ongoing Amnesty Programme.
“Even in the case of the affected parts of the North, there might be a joint reconstruction programme between the Federal Government and the ravaged states.”
Concerning the demand of Boko Haram for the arrest of ex-Governor Ali Modu Sheriff, the source added: “That is a political side of their demands which the government will look into.
“From security reports and investigation by agencies, some members of the sect gave Sheriff support during his election based on three demands.
“The demands were a creation of a Ministry for Islamic (Religious Affairs), being part of Sheriff’s government and the implementation of Sharia in Borno State.
“They parted ways with Sheriff when he refused to implement the Sharia policy. The situation worsened following the brutal killing of the leader of the sect, Mohammed Yusuf and a former Commissioner for Islamic (Religious) Affairs in Sheriff’s cabinet.
“The dialogue will shape discussions on the fate of Sheriff.”