The Chairman of Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Resolution of Security Crisis in the North, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki on Wednesday said that the ceasefire agreement reached with the dreaded Islamist insurgents, Boko Haram, will not put an immediate end to the state of emergency currently in place in some part of the north.
“I think even with the declaration and announcement of ceasefire, I think the issue of the state of emergency will have to stay but in such a way and manner in which security agencies are fully satisfied that normalcy has been restored and that there is order and peace.
“Let us not forget the fact that with or without ceasefire, it is the serious and great responsibility of government to ensure that the lives and properties of law abiding Nigerians are protected wherever they are and in whatever circumstances.
“So I think it is the situation that will begin to unfold themselves henceforth that will determine whether the security agencies on ground will relax the period of the curfew and then ultimately they will advise the appropriate authorities whether the need has arisen for the state of emergency to be removed but I think that is not for the committee,” the chairman said.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the weekly Cabinet meeting chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo, Turaki also explained why the leadership of the sect agreed to cease fire.
According to him, Boko Haram leaders are convinced this time around that government is sincere in sitting with them at a round table to put a permanent stop to hostilities.
President Goodluck Jonathan had in May declared a state of emergency in the three frontline states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa that are mostly hit by the sect’s frequent attacks.
The dreaded Islamist sect, Boko Haram had claimed responsibilities for series of attacks that have claimed thousands of lives and led to destruction of properties worth millions of naira, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria.
They had also claimed responsibilities for the bombing of the United Nations building, Police headquarters, both in the capital city, Abuja, as well as Christmas Day bombing at a Catholic Church in Madallah, near, Abuja.
Turaki, who is also the Minister for Special Duties spoke extensively on why the sect agreed to cease fire. His words, “like most of you must have heard, the directive for cease fire that was given on tape, basically they took into account, one; the sincerity of the committee which by necessary implication also the sincerity of the President regarding resolving the issue of insecurity in the North.
“Number two, also unlike their thinking that the committee was meant to serve as a trap for them, they also realized that not only is the committee very sincere, government and indeed Mr. President is also very sincere about the whole discusses.
“They also took not account the fasting of the month of Ramadan which is on and felt that they should give peace a chance so that our Muslim sisters and brothers will be able to perform their religious obligation this month without any harassment, without any fear of any bomb exploding and any firing at them while they are in their place of worship”.
On the terms of the agreement and framework, he had this to say, “We are still working on the framework, where we will sign an agreement and we will make that public where ever and whenever we agree on the time and place and the international and local media, all Nigerians will be privy to it.
“It it is something that will be done openly and transparently for everybody to know that indeed that not only have we been speaking with the proper people but that there has been a lot of good faith on both sides of the divide”.
“We have spoken with somebody who is second in command as far as Boko Haram is concerned and he has informed the media that he has been discussing with us with full knowledge and authority of Imam Abubakar Shekau and so we have no cause to doubt him.
“We have done checks on him, just as they have done checks on us also and we have realized that yes we are dealing with the proper people and with the proper leadership of the organisation.
“We are working on it especially now that there has been ceasefire, directed by the Boko Haram and then we are discussing with the broader framework and as soon as we are done with that Nigerians will be communicated”.