An Islamic Socio-Cultural group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has welcomed the ceasefire deal reached between the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lil Da’awati wal jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, on Friday confirmed that the Federal Government and Boko Haram insurgents had signed a ceasefire agreement.
Mr. Badeh also said he had directed all field officers in the troubled areas to comply immediately.
In a statement by its Director, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC said it warmly welcomed the development.
“Boko Haram insurgency has cost Nigeria most dearly. Over 3,000 lives have been lost while properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed. The country’s image has also suffered worldwide while individual Nigerian citizens in diaspora have paid one price or the other,” it said.
MURIC also congratulated the Nigerian Government for achieving the historical feat.
“We affirm that no price is too high to bring peace to the Northeast and consequently to the entire country,” it said.
The group also urged the Nigerian authorities to build on the achievement by going beyond the ceasefire.
“In particular, FG must push for the release of the Chibok girls from captivity,” it said. “This will definitely put smiles on the lips of the suffering parents once again. The release of the Chibok girls should be followed by serious dialogue with Boko Haram aimed at discontinuing the orgy of violence in the North East.”
MURIC said since the genesis of insurgency has been traced to ignorance, idleness and joblessness, the next task for the government should be to develop impoverished areas where extremism takes root and to extend the tentacles of education to all nooks and crannies of the North East.
“Thereafter, the youths of the sub-region must be engaged by giving them economic opportunities,” MURIC said. “It must be a total overhaul necessitating the creation of a North East development board as well as a ministry of North Eastern Nigeria.”
MURIC also charged the Federal Government to rigorously pursue these objectives because “it is always better to build peace because no matter how expensive the exercise, war is far more expensive, more painful, more destructive.”