Some eminent lawyers in Lagos on Friday gave their backing to the Federal Government to engage the Boko Haram Sect in dialogue, towards restoring peace to the areas affected by their insurgency.
The lawyers made this known in separate telephone interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), following Thursday’s request by the sect for dialogue with the government.
The lawyers said it was a welcome development, as it could put an end to the spate of violence, which had troubled some northern states since the last three years.
A constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), however, cautioned the government to carefully examine the genuineness of the group making the demand before engaging in any dialogue.
Sagay said, “It is a welcome development in the sense that peace can return to the country.
“However, the Federal Government needs to examine the genuineness of the people behind the call to ascertain if they truly represent the interest of the sect”.
He advised the government to reject the demand by the group that the talks should be held in Saudi Arabia, noting that Nigeria was not an Islamic country.
Sagay also advised the government not to grant amnesty to Boko Haram members.
“Those who have murdered innocent Nigerians going to church to worship should not be given amnesty.
“There are families who are still grieving for their loved ones killed by the dastardly acts of this group, and so, it is morally wrong to grant them amnesty”, he said.
Mr Femi Falana (SAN), a human rights activist, advised the government not to be ecstatic about the prospect of dialoguing with Boko Haram.
Falana said, “Dialogue is good but the government should be wary because they have made similar calls in the past, which were not genuine.
“So, we should not get carried away because it may only be a ploy by the sect to regroup and buy time in order to continue their onslaught of violence against Nigerians”.
Another human rights activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu, urged the government to engage the sect in dialogue towards ascertaining their grievances.
Aturu said, “It is a welcome development as long as it will put an end to the killing of innocent Nigerians.
“The earlier we discuss with them the better because it is clear that we cannot win the war against this sect.
“The government should discuss with them to know their grievances, so that peace can return to the country”.