by Isi Esene
Several prominent Nigerians have called on former military president of the country, Muhammad Buhari, not to ignore the call of the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to act as a mediator in proposed talks between it and the Federal Government.
The group had on Thursday reportedly named “trusted Nigerians” who it believes can mediate in talks to bring lasting peace to the country.
It named Buhari as lead mediator to be supported by other individuals like Dr. Shettima Monguno; a former Yobe State Governor, Senator Bukar Ibrahim; Ambassador Gaji Galtimari; and Aisha Alkali Wakil, and her husband, Alkali.
Boko Haram also reportedly demanded the arrest and prosecution of former Borno governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, as a pre-condition for the talks.
Among other conditions, the militant group also allegedly asked for compensation for families of its members killed in the course of its terrorist activities and the rebuilding of its mosques by theFederal Government as its conditions for a ceasefire.
Noting Buhari’s uncooperative body language to the request, former Nigerian president and convener of the Nigeria Prays, General Yakubu Gowon initiative urged him to accept the offer.
Gowon reportedly said, “If Buhari leading the talks would lead to lasting peace, we should give him the chance. People should not misconstrue the intention by saying that Buhari knows them or their leaders. That I think, may not be the intention.”
While toeing the same line of argument, speaker of the Federal House of Assembly, Aminu Tambuwal said, “If the sect is now accepting that there should be a kind of peace pact with the Federal Government, I am sure the House will encourage that.”
Tambuwal who spoke at Ila-Orangun, Osun State, continued, saying, “There will be a dialogue and it may not necessarily have to be all the conditions given will be met. I think government should be engaged, and see how best the issues can be resolved.’’
Former minister for information, Prof. Jerry Gana said, “The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should take this matter very seriously because the most important way to have peace is through dialogue and resolution. Every crisis is not solved by violence; it is finally solved by a resolution.
“If there are good proposals that have been put forward for peace, we pray that they should be given very serious consideration and we pray that God will give the leadership the wisdom to resolve how to move Nigeria forward. If there are good suggestions, they shouldn’t be thrown away; they should be considered because you never know what key may open the door.”
The federal government has shown it readiness to go into dialogue with the Islamic militant sect so as to restore peace and amicably put a halt to the violence.