“There is need to engage the insurgents to facilitate truth and reconciliation.”
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Okey Wali, on Thursday urged the Federal Government to engage Boko Haram insurgents in dialogue to achieve meaningful peace and progress in Nigeria.
Mr. Wali said this in Abuja during a valedictory session of the Supreme Court in honour of the late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa.
He said that there was need to engage the insurgents to facilitate truth and reconciliation that would stop the intransigence of the group, leading to the much desired peace.
“Like they say, issues are better discussed unresolved than resolved un-discussed; too many issues are begging to be addressed and we keep shutting our eyes to the obvious. This is why the NBA has continued to advise that the President engages the insurgents and never let-off because of the intransigence of the insurgents. That way, we will most probably get to the bottom of the matter,” Mr. Wali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said.
He observed that there existed three Boko Harams – the political Boko Haram, the religious Boko Haram and the criminal Boko Haram.
Mr. Wali said that government needed to find out by engaging the insurgents, what was their ideology and who were the proponents of the ideology.
Citing global instances of how such engagement worked, Mr. Wali said that the Obama administration in the U.S. exchanged five Guantanamo Bay detainees for one American Sergeant.
He said that it took the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which was brokered by then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to resolve the Ireland Revolution Army, IRA, insurgency in the U.K.
Mr. Wali said that notwithstanding some sentiments against it, engaging the insurgents was a sensible option.
The NBA president said that this was desirable, especially in the efforts to rescue the kidnapped Chibok girls.
“Everyday, the Chibok girls and other victims are away from their families and are somewhere nobody knows, that is hellish for the girls and their families,” he said.