The recently appointed National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, says plans are in gear to meet with the top brass of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, with a view to putting an end to the violence perpetrated by the terrorist group.
Mr. Dasuki said on Wednesday in Jos that he has the contacts of key Boko Haram leaders for possible dialogue with the group.
While speaking during a meeting with stakeholders in Plateau, he said that he is planning to meet with the group on the need for it to cease fire and embrace dialogue as soon as possible.
“I was in Yobe and Borno States last week and I have got the telephone numbers and contacts of key Boko Haram members and I will meet with them.
“I saw the dangerous effect of Boko Haram in these states and what I saw was pathetic.
“But I have the mandate to put heads together with religious and traditional leaders as well as the state governments to ensure an immediate ceasefire,” Mr. Dasuki said.
According to him, he is in Plateau State for on-the-spot assessment of the security challenge and in furtherance of the Federal Government’s peace efforts, particularly across the northern part of the country.
He expressed confidence that the people of Plateau could put their problems behind them and forge ahead with genuine peace and reconciliation.
“I have a stake in Plateau because I have lived in Pankshin and Jos when my father resided here. So if we lived peacefully way back then, it is possible to go back to those good old days.
“Before now, it is difficult for me to believe that you can see a Fulani and Berom man together on the street of Plateau fighting.
“But the presence of various ethnic and religious groups at this parley is a pointer to the fact that we want to forge ahead.”
In his remarks, Governor Jonah Jang said he regrets that the emergency rule in the state had not achieved the intended effect as the attacks on the affected local government areas have continued unabated.
On dialogue with Boko Haram, Mr. Jang said that it is difficult to dialogue with the group since its leaders and members are not known.
He therefore urged the group to come out and identify itself.
“We only hear that Boko Haram claims responsibility for this and that attack but we never heard anybody coming out to say he is Boko Haram.
“We know the Niger Delta militants had leaders and a cause they were fighting for which made late President Yar’Adua to succeed with the amnesty programme. But, who is Boko Haram?”
Mr. Jang alleged that some influential people are behind the sect in view of the sophistication of its operations and insisted that the sponsors must be dealt with by the appropriate authority.
In his remarks, a member of the House of Representatives, Bitrus Kaze, alleged insincerity and lack of will on the part of the government to implement various reports on Jos crises.
“In the last 10 years, no single person has been convicted for the crisis on the Plateau.
“So what you have is a situation whereby the assailants have become hardened and continued to carry on with the attacks with impunity,” Mr. Kaze said.
The parley had in attendance, traditional, religious and community leaders; heads of security services; women; youth groups; and government functionaries, among others.