Nov. 11 (PREMIUM TIMES) — A former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, has offered to dialogue with Boko Haram on behalf of the Federal Government.
Mr. Kalu made the offer following a purported proposal by the sect requesting a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, to dialogue with government on its behalf. Mr. Buhari has since declined the role.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Emeka Obasi, Kalu said there was nothing wrong with the refusal of the offer by Buhari, adding that he was in a position to talk with the group for the return of peace to the country.
He said that having lived in the hotbed of Boko Haram activities, Maiduguri in Borno State and being a prominent South Easterner, which has been largely affected by the activities of the group, he was in a position to marry the feeling of the actors in the dialogue process.
Mr. Obasi quoted Kalu as saying: “General Buhari took a laudable step by opting out.
“For one who contested the 2011 presidential election, meeting with Boko Haram may be misconstrued because many believe that the group’s activities heightened after the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan.”
Mr. Kalu, who is also the protem leader of the nascent socio-cultural organisation, Njiko Igbo, added: “Ndigbo have suffered enough.
“Their businesses have been destroyed, lives lost. Nigeria is their country. I do not see why they cannot walk freely from Maiduguri to Mubi, from Borno to Bauchi. I lived in Maiduguri. I still own properties there. I know the terrain.
“We can sit down and dialogue on the condition that the group will cease all bombing activities in Nigeria. In the interest of peace, I think government should accept the peace move. Previously, they were almost faceless. Now, there is a window for peace. It is always good to jaw-jaw than to war-war. Both Islam and Christianity preach peace.
“A situation where going to serve God becomes a walk into bloodbath does not help our spiritual lives. No family prays to lose four, five members to bombs in a war that seems to set one religion against the other.”