#Bring Back Our Girls# By Chief Mike A. A. Ozekhome, San
GOVERNMENT SHOULD NEGOTIATE WITH BOKO HARAM
BY CHIEF MIKE A.A. OZEKHOME, SAN, CONSTITUTIIONAL LAWYER AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DELEGATE TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
The controversy over whether or not the Federal Government should negotiate with Boko Haram with a view to releasing the abducted Chibok Secondary School girls, is nauseating and demeaning of our humanity, to say the least.
Let it be made clear that the security and welfare of Nigerians are the primary purpose of Government (Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution).
It is unthinkable that some people would want the lives of these innocent future of Nigeria to be wasted on the alter of Government grand standing and engagement niceties. There are times when a Government stoops to conquer. The international odium, obloquy and embarrassment the abduction is causing Nigeria, whose image is being serially battered, should be halted immediately through negotiation with these insurgents.
It was J.F. Kennedy, former American President, who once declared that we should never fail to negotiate, just as we should never negotiate out of fear. Negotiating with Boko Haram will not amount to negotiating out of fear. It is simply an irritating sacrifice to be made to justify the sanctity of the lives of these young, innocent souls. I dare say that the Federal Government should negotiate even with satan, if that would bring back our girls. Even satan would be humbled and diminished by such an unprecedented strategy.
Recall that part of the main brief of the Turaki Committee was to negotiate with the Boko Haram, group an offer it had imperiously rejected. Now that the same Boko Haram has thrown up the “Olive branch”, for that is what it clearly is, the Federal Government should seize it, and make gains out of it.
It affords a golden opportunity, not only to negotiate the release of the Chibok girls, but to holistically negotiate amnesty and halting of the horrific insurgency and bloodletting that have claimed over 12, 000 lives and wanton destruction of houses, Schools, Churches, Mosques, public buildings, bus stops, etc.
The Federal Government should, for once, think of the trepidation, unease, cries, tension, suspense, psychological trauma and mental torture, that the abduction of these children is causing their parents, teachers, siblings, friends and loved ones.
I call upon the Federal Government to immediately set up the machinery (even if discretely, clandestinely, surreptitiously), to enter into dialoque with the Boko Haram group, with a view to bringing “back our girls”.