The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Crisis in the North, Kabiru Tanimu Turak on Tuesday insisted that his committee has reached a ceasefire agreement with the Islamist insurgents, Boko Haram.
According to him, the denial by the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau notwithstanding, at the appropriate time, he said the committee will address the nation to unveil the truth by presenting facts and data.
He disclosed this while fielding questions from State House correspondents shortly after picking the letter granting his committee two months extension to carry out its assignment of opening up channels of communication with the deadly sect.
His words, “I think we have gone beyond that, we have gone beyond that. This issue of whether or not an understanding has been reached I think is something that has been sorted out.
“The people we have been speaking with who are genuine members of the Boko Haram sect have themselves taken up the issue with some of their colleagues and I don’t want to reduce it to a diatribe between the committee with any other person or any group of persons.
“At this level, we have informed Nigerians of what we are doing, what we said is true and accurate and very soon Nigerians will also be availed of sufficient facts that will confirm the information that we have given which is very correct,” Turaki said.
On the two months extension granted the committee, Turaki said it was necessary so that it could complete its assignment, adding that more time was needed to look into the issue of support for victims of violence.
He spoke further, “We have been given extension by Mr. President for another two months. Now, we have been able to work on the critical terms of reference but we are now working on two, two major ones for that matter, the issue of dialogue which is most fundamental and the issue of victims’ support.
“Regarding victims support, we have been able to make a lot of progress; I think we have gone 80 to 90 percent on what we should be doing on that. On the issue of dialogue, we spent a lot of time making contacts, we spent a lot of time building confidence, we spent a lot of time earning the trust of some of the key figures of the insurgency, we are now getting to the point where we are engaged in critical discussions with them and like I said these discussions are such that will lead not only to the signing of ceasefire agreements by the appropriate organs of government but also lead to disarmament.
“Of course the issue of disarmament has to be handled properly by the appropriate organs because as a committee, we are not professionals. So what we can do is to broker the arrangement to the level where appropriate authorities, whether they are military, police or combination of both will now have to take the front seat and be in charge of the issue of surrender of arms and disarmament.
“But as far as we are concerned, we are making a lot of progress in this direction. Very soon, we will be able to address Nigerians and then facts and data that will justify what we have been doing will be released”
The Special Duties Minister also spoke on the Monday attacks in Kano, saying it was an indication that some people were opposed to peace talks.
“I heard the information of the sad event that took place in Kano. It’s really unfortunate that at this time when serious efforts are being made by government through many fronts to make sure that these issues are sorted out, then some people who do not wish this country well are trying to pull the hand of the clock backwards, I think it’s unfortunate”, he said.