The leader of extremist group, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has pledged allegiance to the leader of the terror group, ISIS, Abubakr Al-Qurashi. Read More
Disappointed by the refusal of the United States to help Nigeria procure military weapons to combat Boko Haram, the federal government has now openly expressed its dissatisfaction with the American government decision, arguing that the Americans were letting Nigeria down at her hour of need, Empowered Newswire reports. Read More
Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has again advocated dialogue with the insurgent group, Boko Haram, saying the group has legitimate grievances despite its brutal five-year campaign that has killed more than 15,000 people, with hundreds of thousands displaced.
The former president said Nigeria should not rule out talking to the terrorist group which recently pledged allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS) – but he said that should only happen after a sustained military campaign.
Boko Haram’s run of violence against innocent people in schools, places of worship, markets and homes, only slowed relatively in the last few weeks in the face of increased military onslaught from Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroun.
The military has retaken 15 of 16 major towns seized by the group, the latest being Bama in Borno State, recaptured on Monday.
In response, Boko Haram has launched more suicide bomb attacks killing scores of civilians.
In an interview with the International Business Times in Dubai, Mr. Obasanjo advised that in dealing with the terror organization, the Nigerian government should not rule out dialogue if the group is willing to talk. He said that should happen only after sustained military operations against the militants.
Mr. Obasanjo, who spoke at the side-lines of the Global Education Forum conference, said with only 19 per cent of the population in Boko Haram’s stronghold of North-East Nigeria receiving education, [compared to 79 per cent in the South-West and 77 per cent in the South-East], there was no question that the area should feel marginalised.
“We don’t need anyone to tell us that that is a problem; a problem of disparity, a problem of marginalization, a problem because education is fundamental to your employability and to your living conditions. If you are not educated you are handicapped,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
Mr. Obasanjo again criticised President Goodluck Jonathan’s response to the group, saying the incumbent failed to act quick enough in taking the fight to Boko Haram.
That failure, he said, had given the group “false confidence” to spread to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.
“The response of the government initially was definitely not enough. When Boko Haram started showing their fangs about four years ago, the reaction should have been firm and unmistakable. We have lost ground,” he said.
Mr. Obasanjo said as progress is made with the regional response from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, the Nigerian government should not rule out engaging with the militants.
“If Boko Haram is ready to talk, we should talk. But by the time they are ready to talk they will need to be pounded a little bit militarily: at that stage they will be ready to talk,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
Mr. Obasanjo has made similar calls in the past. In 2011, he made a unilateral attempt to open talks with leaders of the deadly sect.
The effort ended on a bloody note with the murder of Babakura Fugu, the man who received Mr. Obasanjo, and attempted to establish a link between insurgents and the former president.
Mr. Fugu, a brother-in-law of Mohammed Yusuf, Boko Haram’s founder, was shot to death shortly after Mr. Obasanjo left his home in Maiduguri, the Borno Stat capital, where he had flown to for a meeting.
The effort was not at the instance of the federal government, officials said at the time.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has said President Goodluck Jonathan bears a huge moral responsibility that will haunt him for a long time to come for deliberately allowing the Boko Haram insurgency to fester, leading to the deaths of over 15,000 Nigerians and the displacement of over 3 million others in the past six years. Read More
A senior Nigerian cleric has accused the Fulani and Kanuri ethnic nationalities of being behind the jihadist group, Boko Haram, which has killed more than 13,000 Nigerians in five years. Read More
The Nigerian military on Sunday confirmed PREMIUM TIMES’ earlier report that it foiled a major Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, killing several terrorists. Read More
Survivors of the recent massacre by the Boko Haram in Baga, Borno State, have been narrating their ordeal. Read More
Nigerian troops engaged in cordon and search in Baga continue to discover more arms of various background and shapes abandoned in some houses and surrounding communities by fleeing terrorists, the Nigerian defence headquarters has said. Read More
Contrary to the claim by the Nigerian military that it is on top of the security challenge in the commercial town of Mubi in Adamawa state, the dreaded Boko Haram sect is consolidating its position in the the captured town and has indeed renamed it “Madinatul Islam” meaning the city of Islam. Read More
President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday in Mubi, Adamawa State and Baga, Borno State applauded Nigerian troops for proving their mettle once again through the rapid recapture of territories formerly held by insurgents in the country’s North-Eastern states. Read More
The Nigerian military has the moral obligation to discontinue the trial of some soldiers for mutiny and set those already convicted free, a lawyer has said. Read More
Following successes recorded in the war against Boko Haram in Nigeria’s North-East zone, the Armed Forces have intensified efforts to capture alive, the leader of the insurgent group, Abubakar Shekau. Read More