Sen. Shehu Sani has thrown his weight behind a dialogue with the Boko Haram group, saying it was necessary to bring about permanent end to insurgency in the country.
The Senator representing Kaduna Central at the National Assembly said in Kaduna that the Federal Government’s interest in negotiation with the group was a welcome development.
However, he noted that “We need credible personalities who have some level of recognition or respect with the insurgents and a second team to oversee the terms of agreement to their full implementation. These are very much necessary to achieve success and put an end to insurgency.
“But we must make it very clear that we will not in anyway surrender our sovereignty to any terror group.
“We will not concede any territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to any insurgent group, and we will not in any way jettison our secular principles as a democratic state.
“If these caveats are clear then we are all out for negotiations,” he said.
According to Sani, dialogue and the “peoples’ war” are effective strategies needed to successfully win the war against insurgency.
He explained that negotiation was needed mainly to free the Chibok girls and other persons kidnapped by the insurgents and also achieve a cease fire to give room for further dialogue.
“Negotiations require the government to be ready to make concessions by releasing some of the insurgents in return for the Chibok girls and other persons kept in captivity.”
He noted that efforts at negotiation in the past (which he was actively involved in) failed because the previous administration was not ready to make concessions.
“The last administration was not ready to release some of the insurgents in its custody in exchange for the Chibok girls.
“We even reached a point of exchange when at the last point the government changed its mind based on security report received from security agencies.
“What I am saying is, you cannot achieve anything when negotiating if you are not ready to make concession.
“We should work on that to at least get the Chibok girls out of harm’s way and out of danger,” he advised.
Sani also advised the Federal Government to involve the communities affected by the activities of the insurgents to effectively crush them.
“You can take a clue from what is happening in Iraq. The successes recorded by Kurds in Northern Iraq against the ISIS were achieved through the people’s war.
“You can see the successes achieved by the Sunni and the Shia against the ISIS; it is more of a people’s war,” he said.
The lawmaker said that the past administration alienated the people instead of involving them in the fight, thereby making them victims and unable to achieve reasonable result.