Boko Haram: Tanimu Turaki team gets two months extension

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan has extended the deadline set for the Kabiru Tanimu Turaki led Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Resolution of Security Challenges in the North for the next two months for it to conclude its work.

Speaking to State House correspondents after picking up the letter of extension,  the Chairman who is also the Minister of Special Duties, explained that despite the current spate of violence linked to the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, in Kano, the panels work will not be derailed despite deliberate attempts by those who do not wish the country well to frustrate it.

The minister also assured that the committee in no distant future make public all it’s a engagements with the sect members and the progress made so that Nigerians will appreciate how far it has gone in its assignment.

“I heard the information of the sad event that took place in Kano. It’s really unfortunate that at this time when serious efforts are being made by government through many fronts to make sure that these issues are sorted out, then some people who do not wish this country well are trying to pull the hand of the clock backwards, I think it’s unfortunate.

“But let me say on behalf of the committee on dialogue that we are undettered. We will proceed with the discussions and by the special grace of God and by the prayers of all peace loving Nigerians we will able to conquer incidents like these”, he said.

On why the attacks were continued despite the acclaimed agreement with the sect, Turaki said, “I think we have gone beyond that, we have gone beyond that. This issue of whether or not an understanding has been reached I think is something that has been sorted out. The people we have been speaking with who are genuine members of the Boko Haram sect have themselves taken up the issue with some of their colleagues and I don’t want to reduce it to a diatribe between the committee with any other person or any group of persons.

“At this level, we have informed Nigerians of what we are doing, what we said is true and accurate and very soon Nigerians will also be availed of sufficient facts that will confirm the information that we have given which is very correct.

“We will call on Nigerians to continue to be patient. In this kind of situation, there are a lot of segments to it. There are people who are engaged in it on the basis of ideology or dogma. Some people are doing it on the basis of economic benefits. Some people are fifth columnists who whatever you do will make sure you don’t succeed. We appreciate there are a lot of segments and categories involved in the issue of insurgency in this country. But what I need to say is that we are focused as a committee and we will continue to do what we are doing because no where in this world will you get a situation we are having and be able to solve it in a day. Look at Northern Ireland what has been happening, look at the agreements that have been signed, several agreements and yet look at what has been happening there. It’s not something that is an unprecedented phenomenon but that still does not mean we should not be able to solve our own problems outside what is being done in other places. But let me assure  Nigerians once again that we are working  and very soon  Nigerians will begin to see the fruits of the work the committee on dialogue is doing by the special grace of God”.

On how soon the results will be seen, Turaki said, “We have been given extension by Mr President for another two months. Now, we have been able to work on the critical terms of reference but we are now working on two major ones for that matter, the issue of dialogue which is most fundamental and the issue of victims’ support. Regarding victims support, we have been able to make a lot of progress, I think we have gone 80 to 90 percent on what we should be doing on that. On the issue of dialogue we spent a lot of time making contacts, we spent a lot of time building confidence, we spent a lot of time earning the trust of some of the key figures of the insurgency now getting to the point where we are engaged in critical discussions  with them and like I said these discussions are such that will lead not only to the signing of ceasefire agreements by the appropriate organs of government but also lead to disarmament. Of course the issue of disarmament has to be handled properly by the appropriate organs because as a committee, we are not professionals. So what we can do is to broker the arrangement to the level where appropriate authorities, whether they are military, police or combination of both will now have to take the front seat and be in charge of the issue of surrender of arms and disarmament but as far as we are concerned we are making a lot of progress in this direction. Very soon, we will be able to address Nigerians and then facts and data that will justify what we have been doing will be released”.