The vice president said consultations were ongoingb
Vice President Namadi Sambo, has hailed the ceasefire announced by the Islamic extremist sect, Boko Haram, a fortnight ago, in what is the government’s highest-profile reaction to the sect’s declaration.
Mr. Sambo spoke on Saturday in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, which is the hotbed of the militancy.
The trip makes the vice president the highest-ranking government official to visit the troubled northeast city since the outbreak of violence in 2009.
Military authorities had earlier said the government “cautiously” welcomed the announcement by the sect which is responsible for over a thousand deaths, according to human rights groups.
Defence chief, Ola Ibrahim, said the announcement was being reviewed, and that at least a month would be needed to complete the process.
Addressing Borno state officials, Mr. Sambo said the government was making consultations on the best approach to the announcement, to attain lasting peace. He did not provide details.
“We are happy about the ceasefire pronouncement,” Mr. Sambo said. “But the federal government is consulting on the best approach to the matter so that we can achieve lasting peace in Nigeria.”
While the Vice president’s remarks suggest the government may have been involved in talks with the sect, a point the government denies, it clearly implies the government will be making efforts to reach out for comprehensive peace negotiations.
Mr. Sambo said to sustain the peace, part of the government’s plan was reviving the Maiduguri-Port Harcourt train service to boost economic activities in the country.
“Work on the rehabilitation of the Maiduguri- Port Harcourt rail is expected to be completed by the end of this year,” the vice president said. “We are hoping that the Maiduguri-Port Harcourt train service will commence immediately after the completion of the work.”
Mr. Sambo commended the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, for his achievements in spite of the security challenges facing the state.
Mr. Shettima requested the assistance of the federal government in job creation to help stem restiveness.
“We will appreciate Federal Government’s support in fighting poverty in the state. In fact, we are begging for your support,’’ the governor said.