Nigeria; No dialogue with Boko Haram, Says Jonathan

By IndepthAfrica
In Nigeria
Nov 19th, 2012
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Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 25, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ TIMOTHY A.

President Goodluck Jonathan said on Sunday that the Federal Government was not holding discussions with the Boko Haram sect.

Jonathan made the statement in a Presidential Media Chat, stressing that government would never engage in dialogue with faceless people.

He acknowledged that there was a media report about government discussing with the Islamic sect but said no such discussion existed.

“Presently, government is not dialoguing with Boko Haram. There is no dialoguing between Boko Haram and government.

“Though, there was a news item talking about dialogue but Boko Haram is still operating under cover, they wear mask, there is no face. So, we do not have anybody to discuss with.”

The president rejected the idea of using maximum force to dislodge the group from its bases as was done in the case of Odi in Bayelsa.

He said the use of force at Odi did not achieve the desire result, pointing out that rather than end militancy in the Niger Delta, the Odi invasion served to escalate it.

Commenting on the state of roads in the country, particularly the Lagos-Ibadan and the Benin-Ore roads, Jonathan said that government would soon take a definite decision on the concession agreement with Bi-Courtney on the Lagos-Ibadan road.

He noted that there were signs that the concessionaire was not capable of handling the project.

The president stated that his administration would make history by repairing of the Benin-Ore road.

He said already various agencies of government were looking into the possibility of salvaging the road.

On power, the president denied that government had revoked the N3.6 billion three-year contract with Manitoba Hydro International of Canada for the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

He, however, stated that there were issues raised which needed to be clarified following the new procurement law of the country.

“Manitoba contract has not been revoked. There were some issues raised, where some confusion on the status of Manitoba was raised because of the new procurement law. We saw some loopholes that were not properly done.

“I have given the relevant agencies until Tuesday to get things done.”

On recent flood disaster across the country, Jonathan reassured Nigerians that the nation would never experience food crisis as being speculated in some quarters.

He, however, raised hope of a bumper harvest through massive dry season farming across the country.

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