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Boko Haram committee, a welcome development – Abatemi-Usman

By Michael Jegede

Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, has hailed the Federal Government for setting up a dialogue committee to engage members of the Boko Haram sect.

In a statement signed by Abatemi-Usman's Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Michael Jegede, the Senator expressed confidence that the move, aimed at checking the activities of the group, which is said to have resulted in the killing of about 4, 000 people and destruction of property worth billions of naira, would yield fruitful outcome.

According to him, his confidence is anchored on the composition of the 26-member presidential amnesty panel, which includes the likes of Dr. Ahmed Datti, Sheik Lemu and Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi.

While appealing to the members of the sect to gladly accept the Olive Branch the government is trying to offer them for peace to reign supreme in the country, the Senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial District said: “for the government to have gone ahead to constitute a committee to dialogue with key members of the Boko Haram, despite reports that the group rejected the planned amnesty for them, shows that as a government we are truly serious and sincere about the plan to resolve the issue in the interest of the country. The Boko Haram members must therefore have a rethink and embrace this door of dialogue that is being opened to them, as it is the only way to the peaceful resolution of any kind of conflict. We cannot continue to watch innocent Nigerians being maimed almost on a daily basis. This has to stop!”

The Presidency had on Wednesday announced that “President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the constitution of a Presidential Committee to constructively engage key members of Boko Haram and define a comprehensive and workable framework for resolving the crisis of insecurity in the country.”

It further stated that “The Committee's terms of reference will include developing a framework for the granting of amnesty; setting up of a framework through which disarmament could take place within a 60-day time frame; the development of a comprehensive victims' support programme, and the development of mechanisms to address the underlying causes of insurgencies that will help to prevent future occurrences.”

SIGNED: MICHAEL JEGEDE
MEDIA AIDE TO SENATOR NURUDEEN ABATEMI-USMAN