Nigerians express divergent views on Boko Haram ceasefire

Nigerians on Friday expressed divergent views on the ceasefire agreement between the federal government and the Boko Haram insurgents.

The respondents made their feelings known in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria.

While some of the respondents commended both parties for the agreement, others advised the government to be wary of the group as its members were capable of flouting the terms of the pact any time.

Okey Bernard, an Abuja based writer, commended the agreement but said that the two parties should be sincere in its implementation.
“If it is true that the dreaded group has agreed to lay down arms, it is commendable but the government should be wary of them,” he said. “How come this ceasefire is coming weeks after the Federal Government committed about $15 million to an arms deal in South Africa.”

Mr. Bernard said that while the army could be suspecting that Boko Haram may want to use the “ceasefire” to build up its arsenal, the Boko Haram will not immediately believe that the army would play fair.

“This is similar to Niger Delta Amnesty and also the truce between the Spanish Government and the Basque Separatists,” he said.

Deji Ayoola, a resident of Abuja, commended the agreement, describing it as a Godly intervention.

“If it is true, then it is a big relief and I see it as God’s intervention to solve the problem of terrorism,” he said.

Another resident, Ann Ogunye, also advised the government to be wary of the agreement as Boko Haram cannot be trusted.

“The government should be a bit careful because for groups like the Boko Haram, ceasefire is usually not easy.
“A faction may come up tomorrow to reject the agreement,” she said.

In his reaction , a federal lawmaker, Dakuku Peterside, said the ceasefire should be done with sincerity.

Mr. Peterside, (APC-Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro), said in Port Harcourt that the truce was a step in the right direction and a welcome development.

“If the ceasefire is done with sincerity it’s a good development. A good General is one who reviews his strategy from time to time without losing focus of his objective.

“Whereas, we believe that it is good to root out Boko Haram but, we need to review our strategy from time to time,’’ he said.

Mr. Peterside said the ceasefire agreement was good but that government should ensure that it was reached with sincerity because the security of the country was very important. He said insecurity had wreaked havoc in the affected states, stressing that there was need to ensure peace and security in the country.

On the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, Mr. Peterside urged the government to ensure that the girls were released and re-integrated with their families without delay.

“The top most priority of government should be the release of the girls. Their abduction should not have happened in the first place. It’s unfair and unjust to have kept them this long.

“Government should ensure that the girls are freed and re-united with their families,” he said.

In his reaction, Makinde Adekunle, the immediate past President, Nigerian Institution of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, said that the agreement was the best approach.

Mr. Adekunle said that the government ought to have taken the decision long ago, considering the havoc of the Boko Haram on lives, property and economy.

He said President Goodluck Jonathan had once again proven that he was a good leader and had the interest of the country at heart.

Sheyi Gambo, a former National Publicity Officer of the oil workers union, PENGASSAN, urged the government to find out the grievances of the insurgents with a view to maintaining peace.

“This is one of the best things that ever happened to us,” he said. “Government has taken a wise decision by reaching a ceasefire agreement to end all forms of senseless and barbaric killings of innocent Nigerians.”

An economist, Titus Okurounmu, also said that the Federal Government’s decision to sign the ceasefire agreement was a welcome development.

Mr. Okurounmu said that no country could move forward with such insurgency.

According to him, bringing to public knowledge those involved in the agreement is for credit purposes and will make the present administration dispensation transparent.

Mr. Okurounmu, a former Director, Research Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, urged the government to be more specific on how soon the Chibok schoolgirls would be released, following the agreement.


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