The belated condemnation by northern leaders of the attacks by the Boko Haram sect is not enough as the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, wants them to go into negotiation with members of the sect just as leaders in the Niger Delta did to militants a few years ago.
Once political and religious leaders and the elites in the North go into negotiation with the terrorist group, the end to insurgency will come, Ndoma-Egba stated in an interview in Calabar, even as he appealed to the insurgents to lay down their arms and go into dialogue with the authorities.
The admonition came just as the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC), Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, described the spate of killings, bombings and general insecurity in the country as a national tragedy.
Ndoma-Egba said those who have taken up arms against the state were not ghosts hence their kinsmen should call them to a dialogue to ascertain their grievances and what should be done as the onslaught in the North-east was getting out of hand and capable of escalating, a development he noted would cause more problems for the country.
â€œOne of my colleagues, Senator Brigidi gave up his re-election bid to negotiate with the Niger Delta militants.
He was the go-between government and the militants. It is to his credit that the militants embraced the amnesty announced by the federal government. And today, there is peace in that region.
â€œI expect leaders in the North to do the same. They should go beyond condemnation. Let them look for leaders of this notorious sect by negotiating with them. The killings they carry out have become unbearable. We watched a video footage by personnel of the State Security Service (SSS) and saw how Boko Haram members were slitting the throats of policemen. One policeman fainted before it got to his turn,â€™â€™ he said.
Ndoma-Egba said it was wrong to put the whole blame for the escalating insurgency on President Goodluck Jonathan because security was everybodyâ€™s business and challenged emirs, district heads, political office holders, youth leaders, women leaders to rise to the occasion by fishing out Boko Haram members and talking to them with a sense of patriotism.
He called on Nigerian neighbours to join in the war against terrorism as the menace knows no borders, adding that it will soon get to a point when Nigeria will resort to the doctrine of hot pursuit to track down those who kill or maim and run to other countries to hide as a means of checking the menace.
Ndoma-Egba maintained that he was not against the forthcoming national conference as it was one avenue for Nigerians to ventilate their thoughts on issues that concern them but added that only the executive knows what it will do with the resolutions that will be made at the end.
Meanwhile, Oloyede while speaking with journalists in Ibadan yesterday, said he was particularly worried that the killings were on the increase despite all efforts to curtail it.
â€œIt is a national tragedy which defiles all logic, all civility, it puts the nation on trial,â€ he said.
Oloyede, who doubles as the Secretary-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, (NSCIA), urged all Nigerians across all denominations to jettison political and religious propaganda and put all hands on the deck to collectively combat the calamities.
â€œWe must all rescue our nation from impending doom and ensure that we restore peace and sanity in our country,â€™â€™ Oloyede said.
Oloyede also called on men of goodwill to do all within their powers to curtail the menace which has taken a dangerous dimension of killing innocent school children.
“While we appreciate the efforts of government and other security agencies, we urge them to be more tactical and strategic in confronting the unfortunate development,â€ he said.
Oloyede equally called on all parents, to take good care of their children and prevent them from taking hard drugs or join a bad gang, which in most cases, are the root cause of the problem.
He commiserated with the families of those killed and called on the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the act.
In the same vein, the Criterion, a group of Muslim women in business and professions, also condemned the killing of 43 students of the Federal Government College in Yobe State and other killings in the country.
Criterion stated in a statement signed by its National President, Saudat Abu Baqi, that mothers were weeping for the loss of innocent souls for no fault of theirs.
â€œIt is saddening that innocent promising children could be cut down in their prime while in search of knowledge.â€
She said the wanton killings in the North-eastern part of the country have dampened the sense of security and brought in stead fears and grieves of attacks.
Criterion called on the federal government to deploy all machineries at its disposal to preserve human lives, restore human dignity and project Nigeria as a country safe for all.
â€œWe also call on well-meaning Nigerians, regardless of their religious or cultural leaning, to shun personal bigotry and join hands with relevant authorities in finding solution to the scourge.â€