|Northen Nigerian leaders accused of supporting Boko Haram|
|THURSDAY, 04 AUGUST 2011 16:3|
The northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) made the accusation following the federal government’s decision to engage Boko Haram.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration asked members of the ACF and the Borno Elders Forum to engage Boko Haram in dialogue on behalf of other Nigerians.
Protesting against the decision to negotiate with Boko Haram, the secretary-general of the northern chapter of CAN, Saidu Dogo on Tuesday told journalists in Kaduna that the government had made a fundamental error.
“It is an exercise in futility because prominent northern leaders are behind the security challenges the nation now faces,” Dogo said.
“Where will these people (Boko Haram) get resources to buy explosives and chemicals and put them together to make bombs and start attacking innocent Nigerians?”
The accusations also followed reports that the federal government would assemble a committee comprising of ACF leaders to engage Boko Haram.
Dogo alleged that the same Arewa leaders that Jonathan had deployed for the talks were behind the armed group.
However, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, speaking at the inauguration of the eight-man presidential committee on security challenges in the North-East zone said the government could not negotiate with Boko Haram because “it is a faceless organisation.”
The federal government said it established an eight-man committee not to have peace talks with Boko Haram but gather information from them.
“The purpose of the committee is not to negotiate with the Boko Haram sect,” Anyim was quoted as having said.
“This is because we cannot negotiate with people whom we do not know.
“This is not a negotiating thing, the committee is there to review all the issues of security challenges in the zone and proffer solutions or recommendations, which will bring a speedy resolution of the crisis.
“Negotiation may be after the report of the committee, if it is recommended that government should try to negotiate with the sect, then it may be considered.”
The committee has two weeks to submit its report to liaise with the National Security Adviser (NSA).
But Dogo argued that since the Boko Haram had listed its demands which were impossible to meet, especially adopting Shari’a law throughout Nigeria, the committee’s efforts were bound to fail.
“Why then do you start something that will end in futility? It is not going to work because they (Boko Haram) have their beliefs. That as long as the Nigerian nation exists, Sharia must be practiced and imbibed by everybody, which can never happen,” he said.
“What is the government going to negotiate with the sect? Would the government ask them to forget their Islamic belief? To me, I feel that this is an exercise in futility. The government should not have constituted the committee.”