by Isi Esene
The minister of Information, Labara Maku, said yesterday that the Federal Government welcomes the decision of the Boko Haram Islamic group to engage in dialogue.
According to the Nation Newspapers, he said the FG has always shown its readiness to meet with the group and explore ways of stopping the violence as quickly as possible.
Yesterday, a man identified as Habu Mohammed, who was reported to be speaking on behalf of the sect’s leader, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, told the Voice of America (VOA) in Mecca that the group is ready to negotiate with the FG.
He said the decision was as a result of the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians who advised the group to change its strategy in the interest of peace.
In his statement, Maku said:
“We have heard the news. The position of government from the beginning has been that we are prepared to negotiate and dialogue with members of this group because we believe they are Nigerians and they are our children.
“It is a known fact that violence has disrupted social and economic activities in some parts of Northern Nigeria.
“We have accepted dialogue as a way of bringing the situation to an end as quickly as possible.
“We have always called on those engaging in violence to stop because violence can’t solve any problem. So we welcome the decision to dialogue.”
Both the FG and the militant group have refused to divulge what form the talks are taking and the individuals brokering the talks.
The Boko Haram group has undertaken a campaign of violence in the northern part of the country, which has claimed the lives of thousands and left even more wounded, with the aim of establishing an Islamic enclave in Nigeria. And they are children of the government?