The violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram said that it is ready for dialogue with the Federal Government if the government releases all its members in detention.Nigeria Newspapers Today on Boko Haram Latest News
The proposed talks, however, might not lead to the final solution that government had long searched for as the sect’s spokesman, Abu Qaqa, said that it would only be “a temporary measure for peace.”
Qaqa’s statement, issued on behalf of the sect on Sunday, was quoted in a News Agency of Nigeria report.
The statement reads, “Our position remains the establishment of Sharia Law in all Muslim states in Nigeria.
“But as a temporary measure for peace, we will accept to talk with government only when all our members in captivity all over the states are released.”
However, an Anglican Bishop has warned the Federal Government not to negotiate with the sect, saying talks will only “encourage gangsterism and terrorism in the country.”
The Bishop of the Anglican Communion, Calabar Diocese, Rev. Tunde Adeleye, spoke in the Cross River State capital even as gunmen suspected to be members of the sect shot three people at a market in Maiduguri, Borno State on Monday.
Qaqa said the sect, which currently engages the Federal Government in a campaign of violence, had the list of its members arrested by the Police, the State Security Service and other security agencies. Last week, the sect denied a part of the report of the Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North-East that says it is ready for talks.
The committee headed by Ambassador Gaji Galtmari submitted its report to the Federal Government two weeks ago.
Qaqa said the Galtmari panel never met with the group.
The sect said, “We only heard the story in the media, nobody contacted us throughout the sitting of the committee. So, it is wrong for them to recommend dialogue with us when they did not make any effort to meet with us.
“The idea of appointing the Sultan of Sokoto as a mediator between us and the government is also not acceptable to us because the Sultan is not the authentic Muslim leader in Nigeria.”
The Agence France Presse, which reported the killings in Maiduguri, said it was confirmed by the Borno State police commissioner, Simeon Midenda.
The commissioner was quoted as saying, “I have received report of an attack this morning by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Baga market where a tea seller, a drug store owner and a passer-by were shot dead by the attackers.
“The fact that nothing was taken from the tea seller who was shot in the chest and the head and the drug store owner rules out robbery.”
The market is frequented by traders from Chad, Niger and Cameroon. There have been no arrests in connection with the attack, he said. The attack brings to eight the number of people killed in the city in the last two days by suspected Islamists after weeks of a lull in Boko Haram-instigated bomb and shooting attacks.
Five people were killed on Independence Day on Saturday, in two separate attacks, a spokesman for a special military unit in Maiduguri also told AFP.
In one of them, attackers used explosives and gunfire to target an army patrol near a wedding in the city, killing at least three civilians, the military said on Sunday.
In the second incident, a butcher and his assistant were shot dead by gunmen in Maiduguri.
Adeleye, at a press conference heralding the synod of the diocese, said that holding talks with the Boko Haram Sect was not the solution to the problem.
The cleric said, “We do not agree that one of the solutions to this problem is to have dialogue or a round table talk with the people involved. If the Federal Government starts to talk or plan to treat them (Boko Haram) the same way the Niger-Delta militants were treated, then we must say that it will be a bad precedent.
“This may encourage gangsterism and terrorism in this country and the Federal Government will need to keep discussing with everybody or group threatening the peace of the country.”