Boko Haram: It is time for round table talk

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Dec 5th, 2012
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Boko Haram

The Boko Haram’s violent activities across the northern Nigeria have been relentless. Nobody thought it could turn out this bad and the indecisive posture of those in power who should know better may destroy our fragile unity.

The incessant bombings and deaths of the innocent should prick our national conscience. Yet, we seem unruffled while the country burns. The rampaging Boko Haram sect and the decision to handle it with kid gloves is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and God forbid, we are on the verge of disintegrating as a country.

At first, it was the bombings of religious places of worship, schools and public places. And now attempts on the media houses may be the last straw that would break the camel’s back if nothing is done to arrest the situation. The President, Council of State, security agencies and others should take a firm decision to arrest this drift to disintegration. The National Assembly must not wait until the situation gets out of hand. It must take action to prevent avoidable deaths of innocent Nigerians. We have had enough, and only people without conscience would continue to view the situation as just another problem we will eventually overcome.

On what can be done to end this menace? Obviously, it is dialogue which, like in the case of the Niger Delta militants, could lead to amnesty, but should not be the only item in the solution package. The government needs to properly map out strategies towards finding a lasting solution so that at the end, Nigeria would breath peace and Nigerians would stop living in fear. The solution approach should have short and long term measures. In short term, government should quickly constitute a discussion and reconciliation committee presided by top respected Nigerian social leaders like General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), Justice Alfa Belgore, Professor Ali Mazrui, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Justice Kayode Eso, Justice Oputa among others.

The government may need to rehabilitate the group and this is where the idea of amnesty comes in for an ideological group like Boko Haram. Nigeria needs amnesty as one of the ways out of the situation. To be included in this package is the teaching on how the sect can respect human life, love people and live together in a true federalism. By and large, in seeking for solutions to the Boko Haram’s crisis, Nigeria stands to gain so much in simultaneously resolving other important issues affecting her as a federation. The key to resolving sectarian agitation is dialogue and not force. The Boko Haram sect is tearing us apart and making us view our brothers as enemies, but must we continue to allow the death of the innocents?

Abiodun from Ibadan.

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