FG won’t beg Boko Haram for dialogue – Buhari

By: Isiaka Wakili

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration will not beg the Boko Haram terrorist group for dialogue.

President Buhari stated this late Saturday night through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

Adesina, while speaking as a guest on Channels Television 10pm News, maintained that the Federal Government had the capacity to defeat the insurgents through the use of force.

According to him, President Buhari’s administration is not opposed to dialogue if the sect wants it and especially if it is with the authentic leadership of the insurgents.

The presidential spokesman, however, emphasised that the government would never dialogue with the terrorist group on bended kneels or position of weakness.

“Government has the capacity to deal conclusively with the Boko Haram insurgency through force of arms. But if they want dialogue, and it is established that it is the authentic leadership, government is not averse to dialogue. But that dialogue will never be done on bended knees, or position of weakness,” the presidential aide said.

Buhari had on September 15 revealed that his administration had begun negotiation with some leaders of the Boko Haram sect to secure the release of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted on April 14, 2014.

President Buhari was at that time in Paris fielding questions from members of the Nigerian Community in France.

“The issue of Chibok girls has occupied our minds and because of the international attention it drew and the sympathy throughout the country and the world. The government is negotiating with some of the Boko Haram leadership,” Buhari had said.

The president had also stressed that because of the sensitivity of the issue (negotiation), his administration had to first establish genuine members of the terrorist group in order not to engage wrong persons.

“It is a very sensitive development in the sense that first we have to establish, are they genuine leaders of the Boko Haram. That is number one. Number two, what are their terms, the first impression we had was not very encouraging,” he had stated.

Buhari had also said his government would not accept a condition given by terrorist group for the release of the schoolgirls that one of its members who had been strategic in developing Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) be released.

The president had then said: “They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making IEDs that is causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing people in churches, mosques, market places, motor parks and other places.

“But it is very important that if we are going to talk to anybody, we have to know how much he is worth. Let them bring all the girls and then, we will be prepared to negotiate, I will allow them to come back to Nigeria or to be absolved in the community.”