“If we negotiate with them, they will get a few more people and then we begin to negotiate again.”
The Senate President, David Mark, said on Tuesday in Beijing that Nigeria would not negotiate with Boko Haram or any other terrorist group.
Mr. Mark made the declaration while reacting to the recent demand of the acclaimed leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, that the kidnapped school girls would be released only if the sect’s members in detention are released.
Mr. Shekau made the demand in a video released on Monday.
The senate president, who spoke to journalists, said the Federal Government would ensure the safe return of the girls.
“Nigeria will not negotiate with terrorists under any circumstance. If we negotiate with them, they will get a few more people and then we begin to negotiate again.
“You do not negotiate with criminals; you do not negotiate with terrorists. We are going to bring the girls back safe and sound, every effort will be made to rescue them.
“For a criminal to parade himself and be asking for negotiation, I think that is the height of insult on any nation,” he said.
Mr. Mark said that the insurgency persisted because government had initially taken the insurgents for granted.
“We had assumed that they were just Nigerians and so we treated them with kid gloves. We perhaps didn’t realise on time that they had international connection.
“It is clear to everyone now that they are not just restricted to Nigeria.”
He reiterated that since the terrorists had declared war on Nigeria, no effort would be spared in dealing with them.
He promised that the National Assembly would review the anti-terrorism act with a view to tighten and strengthen weak areas.
Mr. Mark called on Nigerians to brace up and join government in the fight to end insurgency in the country.
“Nigerians must see this insurgency as a battle and a war on Nigeria, and they must not leave it to only those in uniform.
“Whether you are in Chibok or Lagos or Sokoto, it is clear that all of us must get involved and we must fight it with all our might and strength,’’ he urged.
He said he was delighted that the Chinese government had said it was ready to cooperate with and support Nigeria to fight the insurgents.
Mr. Mark, who is on a two-day visit to China, rounded up the visit with a ride on one of the country’s high speed trains to Tianjin province.